Christian Horner labels Toto Wolff a ‘customer’ of his own engines in fresh swipe

Michelle Foster
Red Bull Christian Horner on the pitwall at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix. Jeddah, March 2023.

Red Bull's Christian Horner on the pitwall at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix. Jeddah, March 2023.

Christian Horner has hit back at Toto Wolff in their latest spat, saying the Mercedes team boss wouldn’t know the complexities of the 2026 engine project because he’s just “a customer”.

Just as it seemed safe to focus on the on-track action, Red Bull and Mercedes launched their latest feud with the 2026 engine regulations at the heart of it.

Although Formula 1 agreed the regulations back in August already, Horner has recently spoken out against the 50/50 split in engine and battery power saying it will create “Frankenstein” technology and has called for a rethink.

Christian Horner’s dig at ‘customer’ Toto Wolff

Wolff responded to that by accusing the Red Bull team boss of being “frightened” because Red Bull are, it is being reported, about ten HP below the target.

According to Auto Motor und Sport, this is in contrast to Mercedes who are said to be the “best out of the starting blocks”.

Horner rubbished both Wolff’s accusations and the rumours, saying he’s more aware of the problems that await because Red Bull’s Powertrain Division is “well advanced” with their 2026 power unit.

“I’m not sure how close Toto is to his engine business, because he’s a customer, he’s not involved in HPP’s business formally,” he said as per Motorsport.com.

“The feedback that I’m getting from the business, and as you start to see the programme really coming to life and as the simulations firm up are some of the limitations. Which are inevitable.

“So I would say it’s perhaps as a result of us maybe being well advanced that we’re actually seeing some of the limitations.

“And I think that not for self-gain here as an engine manufacturer, just looking holistically at the whole lot, looking at the compromises that we’re going to have to make on the chassis regs with fully active aero to compensate for the recovery on the engine, it still doesn’t feel too late to tune that ratio.

“And it wouldn’t take much. It’s not like we’re saying we have to rip everything up and start again. It’s whether you do it on a fuel flow or the cell mass, you just need to change that ratio slightly to ensure that we get great racing.”

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Horner has found an ally in Renault with Alpine team boss Szafnauer insisting they won’t give the okay to the regulations been tweaked.

He, however, did cast doubt on Horner’s comments about being well advanced, saying he’d “be surprised” if that was true.

“It’s one of those things where you have to have perfect information to be able to compare those two things. And I don’t,” he added.

“I know where we are. I don’t know where the rest of them are.”

Read next: Renault even the scores in F1 2026 PU debate as doubts emerge about Red Bull engine