20 March 2023

Mercedes chief Toto Wolff has no problem with Red Bull bossing the new F1 season

20 March 2023

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff has sided with rival Christian Horner in defending Red Bull’s dominant start to the new season.

Sergio Perez led home team-mate Max Verstappen at Sunday’s Saudi Arabian Grand Prix as Red Bull secured their second crushing one-two finish in as many races.

Red Bull have now won 12 of the last 13 races, with Lewis Hamilton describing their machine as the fastest he has ever seen.

However, there are fears that Red Bull’s superiority could prove a turn-off for Formula One fans, undoing the sport’s dramatic surge in popularity in recent years.

But Wolff, who oversaw Mercedes’ run of eight consecutive constructors’ world championships, said: “We have had those years where we were as strong, but it is a meritocracy.

“We shouldn’t talk it down because I remember hearing voices like that between 2014 and 2020. What makes the sport so special is that you need to work hard to win, and you deserve it, and that is matter of fact.

“Even if it is not great for the show that the same guys win all the time, it is because they have done a good job and we haven’t.

“We all hope for good entertainment and it is our duty to catch up and fight these guys. We will do everything in our power to fight back and we will look at areas of weakness that they may have.

“Entertainment follows sport and that [Red Bull’s dominance] is maybe not good for the commercial side but it is what makes Formula One so special.”

George Russell and Hamilton finished fourth and fifth respectively for Mercedes in Jeddah, with the latter more than half a minute behind Perez.

For the majority of Sunday’s race, Perez and Verstappen were a second a lap quicker than the rest of the field.

Hamilton has already written off his chances of fighting for a record eighth world crown this season.

But Wolff remains confident that the 38-year-old will not turn his back on F1 when his contract with the Silver Arrows expires at the end of the year.

“Lewis is a fighter and so are we,” he added. “If the fight is on, you stay and you fight and you don’t throw the towel in.

“That is how we all are in the team so that is why I have no reason to believe he is going to walk away from it.”

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