Horner identifies the moment ‘the gloves came off’

Date published: November 1 2021 - Mark Scott

Christian Horner and Adrian Newey. Austin October 2021

Christian Horner has, unsurprisingly, said that the British Grand Prix was the moment he knew that Red Bull were at war with Mercedes this season.

Red Bull are currently in position to take at least one piece of silverware away from Mercedes in the turbo hybrid era, with Max Verstappen 12 points clear of nearest rival Lewis Hamilton in the race to become World Champion with five races remaining.

Mercedes and Red Bull have blessed the Formula 1 world with one of the fiercest rivalries in recent history and the major flashpoint between them, in Horner’s eyes, came when Hamilton and Verstappen collided on the first lap at Silverstone

“The British Grand Prix at Silverstone in July when Max and Lewis crashed on the first lap,” Horner said in an interview with Luxury London, when asked for the moment he felt that the gloves came off.

“I don’t think many people realise the severity of a crash like that at over 200mph. It was brutal. Max impacted at 51G – it actually broke the seat of his car.

“He was momentarily knocked out and we couldn’t reach him on the team radio.

“Your immediate focus is on the health of your driver.

“Anybody in F1 knows Copse is a high-speed corner, one of the most dangerous in the sport. In that moment I realised what we were up against.”

Horner and his Mercedes counterpart Toto Wolff have often traded words through the media as the rivalry between the two teams intensified, but the Red Bull boss has insisted he spends very little time on that specific rivalry with the Mercedes boss.

“I don’t pay much attention to the Toto situation, even if the media likes to build it up,” Horner added.

“The intensity of the competition is so fierce that one mistake could cost either team the title.

“This is also the first time Mercedes has been under this level of pressure in seven seasons – it will be interesting to see how they deal with that. Toto and I are not similar characters.

“He is a financial guy and I grew up in the industry. It doesn’t make one right or the other one wrong but we are very different people.

“We have a handful of races to go, varying circuits around the world, the situation is very exciting, even for the impartial F1 fan.