Wolff’s advice for Horner as Red Bull seek to avoid F1 driver battle ‘paranoia’

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff believes Red Bull counterpart Christian Horner has a “super tricky job” to manage Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez’s F1 title battle. 
Wolff’s advice for Horner as Red Bull seek to avoid F1 driver battle ‘paranoia’

Verstappen and Perez go into this weekend’s Miami Grand Prix separated by just six points in the championship after taking two wins apiece from the opening four rounds this season. 

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With Red Bull enjoying a dominant start to the campaign, Verstappen and Perez look set to go head-to-head in an intra-team battle to decide this year’s world championship. 

Wolff, who experienced overseeing an intense rivalry between Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg as they duelled it out for consecutive world titles between 2014 and 2016, provided Horner with some insight. 

"From my past it's a super tricky job for Christian and the team, because both drivers will obviously try to always feel that they are fairly and equally treated whilst at the same time trying to have an advantage," Wolff said in Friday’s press conference in Miami. 

"In our team it was important to maintain a lot of transparency and clarity, have discussions before we actually go racing on a Sunday, and put boundaries.

Wolff’s advice for Horner as Red Bull seek to avoid F1 driver battle ‘paranoia’

“At the end, both drivers, even with Nico and Lewis, respected the team's opinion whilst we acknowledged that there is a fight, and they have a fight on between the two of them. So going back in time, there's things I probably would have done differently in 2016, particularly.

"But getting the balance right between accepting that these two guys are racing for a championship, and it's within the same garage, and at the same time, they are part of a larger structure. 

“I think that's not always easy, because they are very competitive animals.”

Horner couldn’t resist a cheeky jab at Wolff in response as he considered what his key challenge will be.

“We just do everything that Toto said but just do a bit better,” Horner joked. 

Wolff’s advice for Horner as Red Bull seek to avoid F1 driver battle ‘paranoia’

"I think that it's a luxury problem,” he added. “First of all, any team principal in the pitlane would hope to have that issue, and it's something we've experienced before.

"The most key thing is to ensure that paranoia doesn't creep in and that both drivers are treated equally.

"You go to pains to provide equality to the point of who drives out the garage first each weekend. They even alternate in the debrief over who talks first.

"But you know, it's racing, it's Formula 1, and occasionally something will happen like a safety car or pitstop. You can't control every aspect within the sport and there are still variables.

"I think so long as the drivers know that they're both getting an equal chance, and it's ultimately down to what they do on the circuit. 

“That's where you want it to play out, not through reliability, for example, to play a key role in a championship fight between your two drivers within your own team."

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