Christian Horner comments on viral Toto Wolff photo after Abu Dhabi embrace

Jamie Woodhouse
Red Bull principal Christian Horner and Mercedes boss Toto Wolff together in the Monaco paddock.

Red Bull principal Christian Horner and Mercedes boss Toto Wolff together.

Red Bull boss Christian Horner insisted there “has to be respect” in response to an all-smiles photo of him and Mercedes counterpart Toto Wolff which nearly broke the internet.

Relations between Mercedes and Red Bull have not always been too healthy over recent years, the dynamic pushed to extremes during an epic 2021 title battle between the two teams as Red Bull’s Max Verstappen and Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton also tussled over the Drivers’ Championship.

Among the drama was Horner and Wolff regularly going at each other’s throats across the season, leading to quite the war of words at various points.

Christian Horner feels off-track respect is important

This rivalry has simmered down since that all-time classic season, with Red Bull having risen to dominant F1 status, while Mercedes are struggling to unlock the secrets of a title challenge in this new era of ground effect aerodynamics.

Still, few consider Horner and Wolff to be anything close to friends, so social media was abuzz when an image did the rounds of Horner and Wolff embracing and wearing beaming smiles at the F1 2023 season-ending round in Abu Dhabi.

This image was brought up to Horner when he appeared on Sky Sports News, where a football/soccer analogy was put to him that this would have been the equivalent of legendary Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson and Arsenal icon Arsene Wenger coming together for such an image.

Horner made it clear that he believes rivalry should be left on the track, while off it respect is afforded for the Mercedes team which won eight Constructors’ titles in a row between 2014-21.

“I think there has to be respect at the end of the day,” said Horner.

“And what the Mercedes team achieved during their dominant period was phenomenal and they still are a fantastically strong team.

“We’ve enjoyed a great year and we haven’t seen much of certainly Mercedes this year, so it was just a moment at the end of the season.

“But there has to be a respect at the end of the day. The racing needs to be contained to being on the track.” recommends

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Wolff has teased a “more conventional” Mercedes concept for F1 2024, as they look to create a W15 challenger which can trouble Red Bull’s position at the pinnacle of F1, having last season gone winless across a campaign for the first time since 2011.

But, asked if he would like to see a stronger Mercedes in F1 2024, Horner, with a smile, simply replied: “Not really.”

Hamilton and George Russell have both signed new Mercedes deals through to the end of 2025.

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