- Toto Wolff says he does not feel the pressure as his Mercedes team battles with Red Bull for the F1 title.
- Mercedes has won seven straight F1 constructors titles, but faces the closest fight in years in 2021.
- Wolff, however, told Insider that he’s not at all stressed, and that battling Ferrari in previous years was “so hard.”
Mercedes Formula One’s team principal Toto Wolff has told Insider he is not feeling the pressure despite his team being locked in the fiercest Formula One title race in years.
Mercedes, on the quest for its eighth consecutive title, tops the constructors championship but faces stiff competition from Red Bull’s Max Verstappen in the drivers standings.
The Dutch driver currently leads Lewis Hamilton by six points ahead of the United States Grand Prix this weekend, but speaking to Insider ahead of the race weekend, Wolff said he is not fazed.
“I don’t feel the pressure at all,” Wolff told Insider in an interview three days out from the Austin race weekend.
“It’s not eating me up. We’ve done it seven times in a row, there’s nothing more to prove.”
Wolff’s Red Bull counterpart, Christian Horner, has attempted in recent weeks to pile on the pressure to the German team, telling reporters that he believes this season is the first time Wolff had experienced fierce competition.
”Of course this is the first time Mercedes, and the first time Toto has been in a situation where he has been challenged,” Horner told Channel 4 during the Russian Grand Prix weekend in late September.
“The competition is fierce, I think that’s the key thing about this championship. We are loving the competition and the more Toto gets wound up, the more fun it becomes.”
Taking on Ferrari was much more stressful, Wolff says
The Austrian, however, said that his team’s years of competition with Ferrari in the constructors race were much more mentally challenging.
“I felt pressure in the years with Ferrari because it was a battle that was so hard to win against Ferrari,” Wolff said.
“This year is a very different one. I don’t want to lose but it’s more healthy than it was before.”
The Italian team, colloquially known as the “Prancing Horse,” finished second in F1’s constructors championship in 2015, and 2017-2019, providing Mercedes with stiff competition, but ultimately falling short every time.
The team got closest in 2018, finishing around 80 points behind Mercedes.
With six races left to go, Wolff’s Mercedes team has built a comfortable lead at the top of the constructor standings and is 36 points ahead of Red Bull.
With Hamilton and Verstappen looking likely to match each other every step of the way — they have rarely been separated by more than a few points this season — the constructors race will likely be decided by the two teams’ number two drivers: Sergio Perez for Red Bull, and Valtteri Bottas for Mercedes.
Bottas, who will leave Mercedes at the end of the season, is currently 42 points ahead of Perez, and in resurgent form, taking two poles in the past three races and winning in Turkey two weeks ago.
Perez, by contrast, hasn’t won since taking victory at a chaotic Azerbaijan Grand Prix in June, and has only finished third or higher three times in the season.
Insider spoke to Wolff at length ahead of the 2021 US Grand Prix in Austin, Texas, and will be publishing more from the interview over the course of the week.
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