The Red Bull team principal has commended his counterpart’s openness and honesty regarding mental health; Toto Wolff has shared he has been seeing a psychiatrist since 2004; Wolff: “I think we have an obligation to say were getting help and it’s okay to get help”
Last Updated: 22/03/22 11:45am
Christian Horner, Red Bull’s team principal, has praised his Mercedes counterpart and rival Toto Wolff for speaking out about mental health.
Prior to the start of the new Formula 1 season, Wolff opened up about his mental health and told the Sunday Times he had been seeing a psychiatrist since 2004.
“I think I’ve had more than 500 hours [of therapy]I have suffered mentally, I still do,” Wolff said. “Getting help is a way of overcoming my problems, and it has helped me to access untapped potential.
“I’ve never had any problem with the stigma. Some of the most successful people are very, very sensitive and very, very sensitive means very, very vulnerable.”
At the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix, Horner took the opportunity to commend his rival’s openness and honesty.
“I think all credit to Toto for having the courage to talk out about his issues with mental health,” Red Bull’s team principal said.
“It is something that there is much more of a spotlight on these days, and I think that it is something in this business we are acutely aware of and something that we’re looking to be proactive on.
“I’m fortunate that I haven’t had issues personally, but I’ve had…friends that I know who have suffered as a result of mental health issues. So, of course, it is an important topic and I think it is very good to highlight it.
“I think to be able to talk out about it is a positive thing.
“As I say, all credit to Toto for having the confidence to talk out about his own personal issues.”
Wolff and Horner are both at the very top of a global sport and the Mercedes boss is eager to use his own platform in a positive way.
“High-profile people, who seem to have everything but are struggling, I think we have an obligation to say were getting help and it’s okay to get help,” Wolff said. “Simone Biles and Naomi Osaka deserve a lot of credit for how they’ve spoken about this.”
Osaka has been extremely open about her own mental health, while gymnast Biles created a global conversation about elite athletes’ wellbeing at the Tokyo Olympic Games last year.
“I have to focus on my mental health,” Biles said, after withdrawing from the team final.
“I just think mental health is more prevalent in sports right now…we have to protect our minds and our bodies and not just go out and do what the world wants us to do.”
Wolff’s driver Lewis Hamilton also spoke to Naomi Schiff on Sky’s new program Any Driven Monday about remaining present when he looked to move forwards after last season’s dramatic finale.
“I think it was about peeling everything back, taking away the seven-time champion as a racing driver, and going back to the human being really,” Hamilton told Schiff.
“I’m the same as everyone in that respect – sensitive with emotions up and down – it is a rollercoaster of a ride of emotions in this sport, as life is.
“For me it was disconnecting from social media, which can be a powerful tool and great in ways for keeping up with friends and news, but can also be overbearing. So, disconnecting from that, disconnecting from the world and being present.
“I was just being really present every day and just not thinking too much about the past, but how I want to improve in the future.”
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