Christian Horner’s Toto Wolff prediction as ‘polar opposite’ Mercedes discussed – F1 news round-up

Jamie Woodhouse
Toto Wolff and Christian Horner side-by-side.

Toto Wolff and Christian Horner side-by-side.

It is time to catch-up with the key talking points from another busy day in the world of Formula 1.

Red Bull design guru Adrian Newey has discussed how the team followed “gut feeling” with their concept as the Mercedes “zero pod” philosophy failed to deliver, though Red Bull principal Christian Horner tips Mercedes to return to form, at which point his frenemy Toto Wolff will have “plenty to say”.

Let us then get stuck into the action…

Adrian Newey discusses “polar opposite” Mercedes

Former title rivals Red Bull and Mercedes went down very different routes with their respective takes on the new regulations for 2022, with it since becoming clear that Red Bull took the right path, as rivals now flock towards the concept of Formula 1’s dominant force.

Newey claims that Red Bull lack the resources to explore endless avenues like a team such as Mercedes can, but are being rewarded now for sticking to their guns.

“Even before the cost cap, we were still resource and people limited,” said Newey on the Beyond the Grid podcast. “We have never had the capacity to be able to research endless different paths in great detail.

“So if you take a recent example, obviously with last year’s car, we took an aerodynamic direction with the sidepod and design and the concept of the car, which was almost polar opposite to what Mercedes did.”

Read more: How Red Bull went away from ‘polar opposite’ Mercedes to master regulations recommends

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Christian Horner-Toto Wolff rivalry to resume?

Mercedes have been absent from the title scene since 2021, clearing the way for Red Bull to hoover up the trophies, but while they have knocked Mercedes down, Horner very much expects the eight-time Constructors’ champions to get back up.

And once they do, Horner believes the Mercedes boss Wolff, who he has had no shortage of verbal duels with over the years, will have “plenty to say” about it.

Appearing on the ESPN podcast Unlapped, Horner said: “They’re a great team. They’re a big team, they’ve achieved record-breaking [form] in so many areas.

“We don’t underestimate them, they’ll be back at some point for sure. I’m sure then Toto will have plenty to say!”

Read more: Christian Horner makes intriguing prediction about Toto Wolff and Mercedes

F1 commentator addresses Max Verstappen favouritism talk

If Sergio Perez were the highest-ranked Red Bull driver, then Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton would very much be in the title fight. But, sadly for both, we are in the era of Verstappen.

Perez’s title ambitions for F1 2023 have long since crumbled as Verstappen romps towards his third World title on the trot, though Mercedes boss Wolff at one stage called it “bizarre” to see the performance gap between both drivers in the same car.

That added fuel to the long-standing, but unproven suggestion that Red Bull develop their challengers to suit Verstappen, though ESPN Latin America commentator Fernando Tornello doubts there is favouritism within the team.

“One driver likes it one way, the other the other way, and the team gives the car to the driver it believes will win the most races, which is Verstappen,” Tornello told Mexican publication Esto. “So Checo is committed.”

Read more: Red Bull’s Max Verstappen favouritism claim addressed by F1 commentator

Renault boss delivers “electric shock” Alpine speech

While Red Bull have been loving life in F1 2023, Alpine have had their fair share of setbacks in a campaign where the goal was to gain ground on Red Bull at the front of the grid.

It is safe to say that despite a pair of podium finishes being achieved, that performance step has not come to pass, with team boss Otmar Szafnauer and sporting director Alan Permane dismissed over the Belgian Grand Prix race weekend.

It is a re-build mission then for Alpine, and Luca de Meo, the boss of their parent brand Renault, has reportedly taken matters into his own hands with a 40-minute speech to all Alpine staff, including the team’s drivers Esteban Ocon and Pierre Gasly.

Read more: Alpine boss delivers 40-minute ‘electric shock’ speech at team’s factory – report

Lewis Hamilton joins elite global fashion industry list

Seven-time World Champion Hamilton has a growing empire of businesses and hobbies outside of his Formula 1 activities, with fashion playing a key role.

That often spills over into the Formula 1 paddock, where Hamilton can often be found as one of the most extravagantly dressed personalities when not in his Mercedes race gear.

And Hamilton’s influence in the fashion world has now been recognised in the form of a 2023 class induction into the Business of Fashion 500.

Read more: Lewis Hamilton joins elite global fashion industry list as part of 2023 class

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