Red Bull team principal Christian Horner has questioned Toto Wolff’s management style, after the Austrian was critical of his team’s performance during the Azerbaijan Grand Prix.
Mercedes appeared to struggle all weekend, unable to match Red Bull’s performance prior to Lewis Hamilton delivering a stellar qualifying lap to secure second on the grid behind Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc.
In the race, it was Red Bull that seized control as Hamilton lost out in the pits, dropping to third behind Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez. Hamilton looked set to overhaul Verstappen in the points standings after the Dutchman crashed out, but Hamilton’s restart mistake saw him drop to the back of the field.
Perez would go on to clinch the victory to extend Red Bull’s lead in the Constructors’ Championship, partly in thanks to Valtteri Bottas also finishing outside the points.
Wolff was critical of his team’s performance after the race: “It is not only the incident at the end that frustrates, it’s about not meeting our expectations, all of us together, Lewis, the engineers and myself, everyone in the team.
He added: “Operationally we just need to perform faultlessly and all of us haven’t done that the last two weekends.”
Horner, who publicly butts heads with Wolff most race weekends, questioned those comments and how they would motivate his team.
“A lot has been made about Toto’s comments this weekend,” Horner said on the matter, after Wolff referred to Horner as a “windbag” in relation to the ongoing flexi-wing saga.
“He’s never afraid to roast his team so publicly, which I disagree with. But that’s his prerogative.”
Horner, rather than talking down his team, believes they will find motivation in seeing just how competitive their RB16B was in Baku, despite not coming away with a 1-2 finish, which looked likely prior to Verstappen’s crash.
“It goes in swings and roundabouts. Max could have come out of the weekend putting 10 or 11 points into his championship with the fastest lap if it had finished where it was with five to go. So he could have been 15 up.
“He’s still four up, but at one point he was looking like he could be 21 down if Lewis had nicked the victory. So, it’s swings and roundabouts and I think it’s going to do this, while the cars’ performance is so close, throughout this championship.
“That makes it so exciting to be a part of. It just motivates everybody in the team to a whole new energy level.”