Toto Wolff rekindles rivalry with Christian Horner in ‘Red Bull copy’ allegation for upgraded W14 – “Happy to add a little sticker”

Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff rekindled his animosity with Red Bull boss Christian Horner, who had suggested that the Silver Arrows would copy their design philosophy.

Wolff has already admitted that Mercedes got its design wrong in the build up to the 2023 season.

The Austrian almost admitted that Horner’s suspicion of Mercedes’ tactics was right, claiming that even if a similarity was there, he would be happy to add “a little sticker” of Red Bull on Mercedes’ updated car.

Mercedes is set to bring in a ‘Plan B‘ car that will be very different compared to the existing W14 in their first upgrade.

“I don’t know, you can call it [a] Red Bull or Aston Martin concept, [but] at the end, if it looks like an English double-decker bus, we would do it if it was fast,” Wolff said.

“Put a little sticker, Red Bull, if they want to have it on. 

“It’s just about raw performance. We have no dogma on who invented it.”

It is believed that Mercedes has very little time left to turn its fortunes, with an ultimatum apparently issued by the bigwigs at Mercedes-Benz.

Mercedes’ development rapidly progressing

Toto Wolff. Credit:
Toto Wolff. Credit:

Wolff accepted that development is taking place at a rapid pace and gave a possible hint as to when the upgrade can be expected.

“We are making big elephant steps. It will be a long time before it’s adequate to challenge Red Bull, but it’s a super fun journey to climb back.”

For Wolff, the priority remains to reduce the gap between Mercedes and Red Bull at the earliest.

“The question is, what is your benchmark? If you look at the Red Bulls, they’re just so quick, that I think we understand the car more is what I meant,” he said. 

“I’m looking optimistic in the future because we just need to put it in a different window. We’re changing the bodywork of the car, how the floor works, all of these things mechanically.

“We’re looking at certain areas, and the team in Brackley is just flat-out and that is really nice to see that we can monetise on the Sundays on that.”

Mercedes’ budget cap under control

Toto Wolff and Christian Horner. Credit:
Toto Wolff and Christian Horner. Credit:

There had been suggestions that the budget cap would make it almost impossible for Mercedes to completely alter its design and come out with a distinctly different W14 car, but Wolff brushed this off.

“It’s not such a big problem because we are not developing two different concepts because we’re not quite sure,” he said. 

“We are going one direction fully committed, so that doesn’t change anything. 

“Obviously if you are one second behind, it’s a long way to catch up. But we are banking on that logic, let’s see what the reality will show.” 

Read more: ‘Uncontrollable’ Max Verstappen ‘would not heed’ any Sergio Perez-related instructions as Red Bull feared car failure

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