However regardless of how little separates the 2 greatest F1 groups, in a contest that has gotten fairly heated at instances, the message popping out of the present world champion workforce is the exact opposite of what one may count on.
As a substitute of feeling burdened by the largest menace he’s ever needed to his dominance of F1 in the turbo hybrid period, the Mercedes boss, Toto Wolff, affirms that the German producer has felt liberated by it.
After years of dominance, in which the workforce’s motivation to maintain going was fueled by worry of being toppled from the highest, Wolff says he and his individuals have been strengthened by being in a combat the place they’ve every little thing to go. to win.
Talking completely with Motorsport.com On whether or not the early season pleasure over the problem had been changed by the elevated stress brought on by Red Bull’s efficiency, Wolff stated: “It’s truly relaxed, as a result of all these years we’ve had the pressure of: we will’t lose “.
“Now it’s modified to: it’s as much as us to win, as a result of the chances have been in opposition to us. So unexpectedly the method begins to get simpler, which makes it fairly satisfying.”
“Expectations change. It’s what we’ve got seen in different sports activities groups, when expectations are so excessive that it’s even unacceptable to lose. And I feel we situation ourselves. We set expectations realistically, and we’ve got simply loved the journey to come back again. to be in a place the place we will combat. “
This season is just not the primary time throughout its dominant years of the turbo-hybrid period that Mercedes has confronted a title challenger.
Ferrari put a whole lot of pressure on them in 2018/2019, when the Italian facet had made some putting advances with its energy unit that will later show to be the bone of rivalry with its rivals.
If you examine the pressures of that battle with Ferrari, in comparison with what Mercedes now faces with Red Bull, Wolff is evident when his squad felt probably the most pressure.
“The Ferrari years have been extra intense, as a result of I feel at that stage we have been very in exhibiting that we weren’t a one-night stand,” he explains.
“We wished to create a legacy of being one of the best workforce for a number of years, and now we’ve got succeeded. We now have received seven instances in a row, one thing that has not been achieved in every other sport globally.”
“With that, unexpectedly, that ease got here into play. We’re nonetheless very formidable and aggressive. However the anguish of dropping has misplaced its power. We nonetheless hate it, however it’s much less damaging.”
Conditioned by the technical regulation 2021
Mercedes W12 flooring element.
Photograph by: Giorgio Piola
One of many defining components in this yr’s tight title battle between Mercedes and Red Bull was the change in technical laws.
In an try to scale back downforce, the FIA launched floor dimension adjustments, that are believed to have harm low-rake vehicles just like the Mercedes greater than their high-rake rivals.
Recalling the second when actuality kicked in, Wolff says the workforce was optimistic at first that it could recoup the losses.
“When the regulation change occurred [se acordó] Fairly early in the 2020 season, we thought we might get it again in phrases of downforce, “he stated.” However it appears to be like like on relative efficiency we didn’t catch up as a lot as we thought. “
“So we began the season hoping to catch up, however then clearly we had these early successes. Taking a look at Bahrain, we most likely shouldn’t have received the race due to the pure tempo of the automotive, however we did. And from the start of the season. we have been at all times with a slight deficit, other than possibly Barcelona and Portimao “.
Wolff says the impression of the adjustments to the bottom was such that Mercedes needed to relearn the automotive as if it have been a season with a totally new regulation.
“I feel this yr has meant for us to rediscover the candy spot of the automotive,” he stated. “All these years we’ve been operating it round a sure configuration, and when unexpectedly there was a drop in downforce on the rear of the bottom, we needed to rediscover it and discover efficiency elsewhere.”
“We had good weekends and worse weekends, however for us it was actually like beginning the season with new laws – opposite to what occurred to a few of our opponents.”
Toto Wolff and relations with Red Bull
Toto Wolff, head of Mercedes F1, and Christian Horner, head of Red Bull F1.
Photograph by: Zak Mauger / Motorsport Photographs
The combat between Red Bull and Mercedes Not solely has it been intense on the monitor, there have additionally been fairly a number of battles off the monitor.
Along with the coverage on versatile rear wings, tire pressure and pitstops, the tensions between Wolff and the Red Bull boss, Christian Horner, erupted in the wake of feedback made after the British GP crash between Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen.
Wolff may be very clear on one factor: that the strain factors between Mercedes and Red Bull could also be due extra to non-public disagreements by bosses than the 2 complete organizations are at struggle.
“It is rather vital to not generalize to Red Bull or Mercedes,” he defined. “It’s a workforce sport, and there are people concerned.”
“The truth that sure people don’t get together with one another doesn’t imply that they’re disrespecting the opposite entity and the individuals who work there, who attempt to do one of the best job attainable to meet their very own goals and overcome their very own issues. “.
“So there’s at all times respect for these organizations and for his or her individuals.”
When requested if he was shocked by the way in which in which relations between Red Bull and Mercedes have been damaged, Wolff stated: “The relations have been by no means splendid, and that comes from the sheer competitors that we’ve got. However I’d say in the disagreement. We now have tried to remain calm, preserve a cool head, and never gas the controversy and polarization amongst our followers much more. “
“The aim was at all times to de-escalate. Sadly, the alternative is true on the opposite facet.”
The battle for the F1 crown in 2021 is way from over.
Sergio Perez, Red Bull Racing RB16B, battle with Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes W12.
Photograph by: Andy Hone / Motorsport Photographs