Red Bull chief thinks Mercedes boss Toto Wolff is using Max Verstappen motivation

F1: Red Bull's Verstappen gets in shape for new season

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Red Bull team principal Christian Horner believes his Mercedes counterpart Toto Wolff will be using Max Verstappen’s victory at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix to ensure his team have the best car possible for the 2021 campaign.

Mercedes won their seventh consecutive Drivers’ and Constructors’ Championships last season with Lewis Hamilton their star man.

However, they ended the campaign on a downer as Verstappen came out on top in the Middle East.

Horner reckons that will serve as a huge warning to the Silver Arrows and he expects them to be even more motivated .

“I expect that Toto has used that [Verstappen’s win], and James Allison [too], to come up with an even more competitive car for this year,” Horner told Autosport magazine.

“So, we don’t in any way underestimate the might of Mercedes. But we’ve always been a challenger.”

Mercedes have claimed that they are not working flat out to improve their car for the 2021 season.

That is because lots of their resources are being put towards their 2022 unit, with F1 set to make drastic rule and regulation changes.

Horner added: “Mercedes publicly said they stopped developing their 2021 car to focus on 2022. So, we’ll see, obviously, in Bahrain, the step forward they’ve made.

“I think the regulation changes are bigger than were anticipated, on the aero side of things.”

Mercedes technical director James Allison admitted that his side have one eye on next season.

“The season hasn’t even begun yet, no car is even launched, no-one has turned a wheel and yet we’re already starting to think very seriously about 2022,” Allison told the Mercedes website.

“Next year brings a complete revolution in the technical regulations of the car.

“The sort of things we have seen racing for the last few seasons will be dead and gone at the end of this year, replaced instead by a new generation of car which has a completely different technical objective – to try and make the racing closer, by making the lead car damage the performance of the trailing car less.

“This change is so large and the cars so different that we will have to spend a large part of our technical resource during 2021 in order to make sure we are ready, with a good car that can then see us in decent shape for the years that follow in 2022 and beyond.

“So we are busy doing that, in a world where we are cost-capped, where we haven’t yet started racing in 2021 and where we have to manage our total resource so we can have an effective campaign in 2021, while also building for the future and this exciting new set of 2022 regulations.”

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