Red Bull boss Christian Horner revealed the “amusing” origin of his all-smiles photo with Mercedes counterpart Toto Wolff in Abu Dhabi, who was taken by surprise when wife Geri “smacked his bum”.
A photo went viral online following the F1 2023 season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix of on-track arch-rivals Horner and Wolff all smiles as they embraced.
No stranger to engaging in a war of words over the Formula 1 action, many social media users were taken by surprise by this picture, though probably not to the level of Wolff when it came to the moment that created it.
Christian Horner jokes ‘clenched fist’ was ready
Appearing on the Sky F1 podcast, this image was brought up to Horner, who went on to explain the “amusing” backstory behind it.
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As it turns out, Wolff had apparently received a firm slap on the behind from Horner’s wife Geri, global megastar member of the Spice Girls, which understandably, Horner does not believe Wolff had been expecting.
“It’s an amusing moment, because I think my wife had just smacked his bum so hard,” said Horner. “I think it took him a bit by surprise.
“You probably can’t see my clenched fist that is out of shot there!
“It’s been a long season and there has to be competition on track, but there still has to be a respect.”
On that note, Horner was asked how he considers his relations with Wolff, the bosses of F1’s top teams having clashed on many occasions over recent years, especially during the epic and extremely tense 2021 campaign as their teams battled it out for title glory, while Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton went head-to-head for the Drivers’ Championship.
Horner once more referenced the respect that exists, describing their relationship as “professional”.
“I have respect obviously of course for everything that he’s done and achieved in the sport,” said Horner.
“I think we’re very different as people and leaders, but as I said, it doesn’t mean that there’s not a respect there.
“I would say that we have a professional relationship.”
Toto Wolff not buddies with Christian Horner
This topic was also addressed recently by Wolff, who was asked about this photo alongside Horner by Austrian publication OE24.
And the idea of describing Horner as a “friend” was not something which Wolff could go along with.
“Friends? The last handshake might have been in 2021 before the last race,” said Wolff. “But you have to recognise the performance of your competitor.
“I have respect for what the Red Bull team has achieved.”