Christian Horner makes Toto Wolff prediction with ‘great drivers’ claim

Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff was replaced at Suzuka so he could undergo knee surgery in Austria.

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner is convinced that Mercedes boss and rival Toto Wolff is “plotting” the Silver Arrows’ return to the front, following two miserable seasons.

Red Bull have very much been the dominant team since the start of the new aerodynamic regulations in 2022, with the side having won 32 races since the start of last season.

Mercedes, on the other hand, have been victorious just the once, courtesy of George Russell in last season’s Brazilian Grand Prix.

The new era of the sport hasn’t worked in Mercedes’ favour, with their dominant days most certainly being over.

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It’s not just the end of Mercedes’ superior reign which has occurred, as Wolff has reportedly been taking a lower profile at several events this season, according to Sky Sports reporter Craig Slater.

Wolff was actually replaced at the recent Japanese Grand Prix by new deputy and ex-F1 driver Jerome d’Ambrosio and communications boss Bradley Lord, so that the Austrian could undergo knee surgery back in Austria.

Prior to Wolff missing Suzuka, there had even been speculation that the Mercedes boss could soon leave the sport, although Horner doesn’t think there’s any chance of this happening.

Instead, Horner is convinced that Wolff is taking a low profile to work on Mercedes’ potential return to the front in 2024, with the Red Bull boss being certain that Wolff and the Silver Arrows are hurting.

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“For me, sport is about rivalry. There has to be a respect, but sport isn’t sport without rivalry,” Horner told Sky Sports.

“Obviously we haven’t seen much of him (Wolff) the last couple of years but I’m sure he’s plotting. I’m sure he’s got something that they’re working on.

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“They’re a great team,” Horner added. “They are a big team. They have got great drivers. They’ll be looking to fight back and it hurts when you’re losing.

“If it doesn’t hurt, you shouldn’t be doing it.”

Mercedes are desperate to return to the front and dethrone Red Bull, something which has led to suggestions that yet another new concept could be introduced, in an attempt to finally make some huge progress.