Red Bull boss Christian Horner has labelled the way Mercedes dealt with its strategy error at the Austrian Grand Prix as "bizarre" and says he would not expect one of his strategists to make an apology on team radio in the same circumstances.
Mercedes failed to score points at last weekend's grand prix after both cars retired with reliability issues, but prior to Lewis Hamilton's retirement the pit wall threw away the lead of the race by failing to pit Hamilton under a Virtual Safety Car. In trying to explain how he had lost the lead of the race, Mercedes head strategist James Vowles apologised twice to Hamilton over team radio, which was broadcast publically across television channels.
Horner said he found it strange that Mercedes felt the need to apologise to Hamilton in order to motivate the four-time world champion and would not expect the same from his team.
"Every driver is different, and I've never worked with Lewis so I don't know what makes him tick, but it seems a fairly bizarre thing for someone to need to do -- to throw themselves under the bus to motivate a driver to go from fourth back into the lead," Horner said. "I think that obviously Mercedes has got so used to being at the front, qualifying on the front row, and any at race that they are not on the podium it is disastrous."
He added: "It's quite difficult without knowing the intricacies of other teams, but the one thing you have to do as a team is win as a team and lose as a team, and that's why we don't often -- or hardly at all -- talk about individuals in success or failure, because that puts an unfair amount of scrutiny and pressure on that individual.
"So certainly our philosophy is that, as a team, it's collective responsibility rather than an individual's. Of course there has to be accountability, but that's something that's dealt with in the right environment behind closed doors, not in a public forum."
Horner believes Mercedes showed signs of vulnerability in Austria and hopes his team can up the pressure and force more errors in the future.
"I think that if you look at Mercedes' history, the team is basically what Ross [Brawn] put in place several years ago. Of course it's been added to and they've had a great advantage over the last few years, and their only main competition has been internal between their own drivers.
"So they have never been in a position -- or the management of the team has never been in a position -- where they have had to go head to head through an entire season, and of course the closer you get towards the end of the year the more the pressure builds. It's a new experience for them. They are obviously very capable people there, but our role if we get close enough will be to put pressure on, because we've seen that when you do put pressure on Mercedes mistakes do happen."