Horner agrees with Wolff: ‘Chuck the form book away’

Date published: October 27 2021 - Jon Wilde

Alex Albon's Red Bull during a practice session for the Mexican Grand Prix. Mexico City October 2019.

Christian Horner does not often agree with Toto Wolff, but he has in regard to ignoring the F1 form book for the Mexico Grand Prix.

Wolff does not believe past results at certain venues will have an influence on which of Mercedes or Red Bull will have the edge at this season’s remaining races.

That, of course, only applies to Mexico, Brazil and Abu Dhabi because Qatar and Saudi Arabia are brand new countries for Formula 1.

Mexico and Brazil are expected by some pundits to suit Red Bull, as they have in the past, because of the altitude which is a help to the Honda engine.

But Wolff has pointed to examples of races this year where similar kinds of theories have gone out of the window, most recently the United States Grand Prix where Max Verstappen won for Red Bull at what had previously been a Mercedes stronghold.

Horner, whose back-and-forths with Wolff have been an amusing feature of this highly entertaining campaign, for once concurred with his oppo regarding Mexico, where Mercedes hold a 3-2 winning advantage over Red Bull since the venue was added to the calendar in 2015 (the race did not take place last year due to the pandemic).

“I think you’ve got to chuck the form book away,” said Horner, quoted by Motorsport.com.

“It’s very tight between the two teams. Mexico has been a good track for us but it’s been a good track for them as well, on occasion. So we don’t underestimate them.”

Max Verstappen ahead of Lewis Hamilton in sprint qualifying at the British GP. Silverstone July 2021.

Verstappen’s nail-biting victory in Austin put him 12 points clear of Lewis Hamilton in the Drivers’ World Championship standings and Horner insisted, understandably, that Red Bull cannot afford to be defensive-minded over the remainder of the season – especially with 133 points still available to each driver.

“You’ve got to attack,” said the Red Bull team principal. “Twelve points is nothing, it can disappear very, very quickly as we’ve seen previously.

“So we’ve got to keep attacking race weekends and get the most out of them we possibly can. And five [races] to go, the pressure only gets bigger.”

 

Mercedes trackside engineering director Andrew Shovlin is aware of Red Bull’s notional advantage in Mexico and said all the reigning champions can do is put themselves in the best possible shape.

“If you look ahead to Mexico, that’s a track in the past that has suited them and the Honda power unit,” said Shovlin.

“But regardless of that, we have to arrive with a car that’s performing at the best of its ability and give a car to Lewis and Valtteri [Bottas] that allows them to do their best job.

“That’s the only thing we are working on – we aren’t really worrying about where Red Bull are.”