F1: Red Bull adversary has flipped and become a supporter of speed

Formula One, Toto Wolff, Christian Horner (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)
Formula One, Toto Wolff, Christian Horner (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images) /

One face on the grid that has commonly pitted himself against Red Bull is in support of the team’s success this season.

One of the best things about Formula One racing are the rivalries. Teams are supposed to hate each other, team principals especially, right?

Such has been the case with Mercedes and Red Bull, especially over the last few years as they have jockeyed with each other for the driver’s and constructor’s titles. Their remarkable and controversial end to the 2021 season set up a 2022 where Wolff accused Red Bull of cheating in not-so-subtle terms. Red Bull, for what it’s worth, was found to be in violation of the cost cap late in the year and penalized by the FIA.

Horner and Wolff certainly respect each other as competitors who have excelled leading successful teams, but they don’t seem to like each other.

This year, though, Wolff is taking his foot off the gas on the conspiracy theories and accusations toward Red Bull, taking on a completely opposite tone.

Toto Wolff loves Red Bull’s speed and doesn’t want them to be forced to slow

Asked about if the FIA needed to mandate more balance in the sport, Wolff pleaded for a meritocratic approach instead of creating artificial disadvantages for Horner and the team. Here’s what he said to the media recently, according to ESPN:

"“If you break the rules in either you should be heavily penalized but only then but not for doing a good job. “The car [Red Bull’s] is fast in all conditions, the driver is at the top of his game, even in Monaco going off at times but not DNF-ing is a skill. You can see that he pushed, so all credit to them.”"

There you have it, even Wolff doesn’t want Red Bull to slow down.

Without a doubt, races haven’t been exactly exciting at the top of the leaderboard for the most part so far this season. If you check in late, chances are Max Verstappen has a 15-plus second lead on the No. 2 car.

That doesn’t mean, though, that the sport isn’t balanced. There are neck-and-neck races up and down the leaderboard, and though Red Bull has dominated the podiums this year, Wolff is right, that shouldn’t lead to the FIA putting any sort of artificial balance in play.

The cost cap has already done that to some degree, but allows teams to play smarter within the confines of what they’re allowed to spend. Changing even more in the name of balance could push the sport toward boring homogoneity.

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