Wolff Fearing a “Double Challenge” From Red Bull in Mercedes’ Quest for F1 Greatness

Published 02/23/2021, 7:15 AM EST
BAKU, AZERBAIJAN – APRIL 26: The Team Principals Press Conference with Red Bull Racing Team Principal Christian Horner, Mercedes GP Executive Director Toto Wolff and Renault Sport F1 Managing Director Cyril Abiteboul during practice for the F1 Grand Prix of Azerbaijan at Baku City Circuit on April 26, 2019 in Baku, Azerbaijan. (Photo by Dan Istitene/Getty Images)


F1 is a sport where you can never rest on your laurels. Teams are consistently working tirelessly behind the scenes to make small gains. And Mercedes, having utterly dominated the turbo-hybrid era, know it all too well.

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

When the dust settled on the 2020 season, Red Bull moved quickly to replace the incompetent Alex Albon with the experience of Sergio Perez. They were Mercedes‘ strongest competitors, at least in theory, last season.

Max Verstappen was already giving a fight to Lewis Hamilton for the driver’s title and now, with Perez, Red Bull can launch an assault on the Constructor’s trophy as well.

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

Formula One F1 – Bahrain Grand Prix – Bahrain International Circuit, Sakhir, Bahrain – Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton and Red Bull’s Max Verstappen in action during the race Pool via REUTERS/Giuseppe Cacace

“That is a very strong combination,” acknowledged Mercedes’ Team Principal Toto Wolff.

Red Bull Racing actually had the fastest car at the end of last year, so the team is in the favorites’ circle in 2021, especially in the Constructors’ Championship, with drivers of this caliber.

“I see Red Bull Racing as a double challenge, so in both World Championship categories, drivers and teams.”

Mercedes not underestimating Ferrari either

Ferrari had their backs against the wall last season. To say that they lost some fear and respect in the paddock won’t be an understatement.

After all, they had their worst season in the last 40 years, having gone from Mercedes’ direct title rivals to the lower pantheons of the mid-field.

SPIELBERG, AUSTRIA: Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain driving the (44) Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team Mercedes W10 leads Charles Leclerc of Monaco driving the (16) Scuderia Ferrari SF90 on track during qualifying for the F1 Grand Prix of Austria at Red Bull Ring in Spielberg, Austria. (Photo by Lars Baron/Getty Images)

But Toto Wolff is aware that they will be looking to re-ignite themselves. Like Red Bull, they underwent a personnel change in the driver’s department. Assuming that they hit rock bottom last year, Wolff expects them to bounce back.

“It will be exciting to see how Carlos Sainz does against Charles Leclerc. Ferrari will be stronger than 2020, Scuderia just has to. It also suffered from a weak chassis last year.

“I assume that mistakes have been corrected.”

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

The Mercedes Team Principal/part owner will keep himself updated with the developments at the rival teams all throughout the reason.

Realistically, aside from Red Bull, no other team poses any direct threat to their chances. Even Red Bull’s flattered to deceive these past few seasons. So, it will be interesting to see if they can walk the talk this time around or not.

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

DIVE DEEPER

Why Do Mercedes Dominate F1?

6 months ago

SHARE THIS ARTICLE :

Bharat Aggarwal

755 articles

Bharat Aggarwal is a sports analyst for EssentiallySports, covering Formula 1 and NBA. A Delhi University graduate, Bharat has multi-year experience in sports writing, having closely worked with the content strategy aspect as well. Bharat Aggarwal supports Manchester United, Lewis Hamilton, Cristiano Ronaldo, Rafael Nadal, Dirk Nowitzki, Sachin Tendulkar, Ayrton Senna, Kristaps Porzingis, and Dallas Mavericks.

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT