Mercedes principal Toto Wolff says there is no substance to the talk of the 2021 title fight influencing pressure levels.
The Mexican Grand Prix marks Round 18 out of 22 on the Formula 1 calendar, and it could not be much tighter in the battle for the Drivers’ Championship.
Red Bull’s Max Verstappen leads the way on 287.5 points, 12 clear of rival Lewis Hamilton, and the theme of how these drivers are handling the pressure has been floating around throughout the season.
But Wolff says that anybody who did not have the mentality to perform under pressure would not make it to Formula 1.
“The whole pressure discussion is all bulls**t,” he is quoted by The Race.
“You’re getting into the car, you’ve done it all your life, you’re doing as good as you can, sometimes you’re making mistakes, sometimes not. And it’s the same with the team.
“You just need to have a good car and look after yourself, be in the right spot.
“I believe in car performance and I believe in human performance. And if you’re not mentally able to perform at the very pinnacle of racing you wouldn’t have made it into Formula 1. And you wouldn’t have won races.
“We’re talking about two drivers that are of exceptional talent.
“One is a seven-time world champion, the only one in the 100 grand prix victory club, the holder of the most pole positions ever. And he doesn’t need to prove anything to anybody anymore.
“He’s fighting a young and upcoming driver who is in a good car. And that’s the fight it is, simply said.”
Wolff would then point the finger at the media, who he feels have “blown up” the moments of drama in this battle for the Drivers’ title, referencing in particular quotes of his which he felt were reported incorrectly.
The Mercedes boss was reported as having said that the title would be decided by a crash, comparable to Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost, but actually he said that could possibly happen at the last race in Abu Dhabi, not that it would.
“I’ve been quoted as saying it would end up in a crash,” Wolff stated.
“I never said that. I said that if it was to go down in the last race and it was about defending your position or not, I could see these guys racing each other hard, and if that could end up in an accident, I think it could end up in an accident.
“But I didn’t say it will end up in an accident. These things are spun out of control and spun out of context sometimes.
“But isn’t that great for Formula 1? It’s racing.”
Wolff has though been involved in verbal battles with his Red Bull counterpart Christian Horner.
Wolff would brand Horner a “protagonist in a pantomime”, so Horner responded by saying that this would make Wolff the “pantomime dame”.
However, with Wolff stating that he doesn’t “even know what that means”, he attempted to pour cold water on this talk too, adding that he “just said he’s like an actor”.
“But I very much respect his work as a team manager and he’s adding to the show,” Wolff concluded.