Mercedes, the dominant team of the 2014 Formula 1 season, and defending quadruple world champions Red Bull, are the turning into the sport’s absolute enemies.
After winning on Red Bull’s home soil last weekend, Mercedes released an advertising hoarding with the slogan: “Silver Arrow gives you wings”.
And, also after Sunday’s win at the Dietrich Mateschitz-owned and promoted Red Bull Ring, silver-clad personnel climbed the enormous iron bull statue in the centre of the circuit and decorated it with a huge three-pointed star necklace.
All in good fun. But less jovial have been scraps over cancelled hotel bookings, or when Mercedes lawyers urged the FIA to ban Red Bull for three races over the fuel flow saga this year.
It is obvious that the bad feeling has affected the relationship between Red Bull and Mercedes’ respective Austrian chiefs, Helmut Marko and Toto Wolff.
Mercedes’ Wolff confirmed to the Austrian weekly News that the pair are not on speaking terms, “No, we do not [speak]. He’s just not a point of contact for me in his role and therefore there is no reason for us to talk to each other.”
Wolff stopped short of saying the pair ‘hate’ one another, “‘Hate’ would be too emotive. We are competitors on the track, that’s our job and it’s important that we obtain the greatest possible success.
“I respect the Red Bull team,” he said. “Nevertheless, life is too short to drink bad wine.” (GMM)