Christian Horner draws attention to ‘inevitable’ Toto Wolff disruption tactic

Michelle Foster
Toto Wolff and Christian Horner looking glum in the pre-season press conference. Bahrain F1 February 2023

Toto Wolff and Christian Horner looking glum in the pre-season press conference. Bahrain February 2023

As Red Bull look to be on course to win this year’s round of the Christian Horner versus Toto Wolff war, the Red Bull team boss says his rival will “inevitably use the media” to put on pressure on Red Bull.

But, he concedes, it is a game of “vice versa”.

Back in 2021 it’s fair to say Horner and Wolff’s relationship, if there had been one, completely broke down as Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton raced wheel-to-wheel for the World title with the Dutchman coming out on top in controversial circumstances.

Along the way there was also a fair amount of drama as the two protagonists were each blamed for one massive crash, Hamilton at Silverstone and Verstappen in Italy, while Horner and Wolff brought the FIA into their feud as they questioned the legality of the others’ car.

But after one intense season, unlike anything witnessed in recent times, the battle petered out last year when Red Bull went on a charge in the new ground effect aerodynamic era and won 17 of the season’s 22 races.

It had Wolff once again calling on the FIA to get involved, the Austrian wanting motorsport’s governing body to do something about his porpoising W13, while Horner told him it’s his own problem to fix.

That was just one of their contentious arguments last season, one that was brought to light by the Netflix cameras, with Red Bull’s budget cap breach the other big argument.

This season there have been fewer explosive points but that hasn’t stopped the sniping or the little digs. Horner says that’s part of the game, saying Wolff will “inevitably” play to the media but then again so too will he. recommends

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“We’re competitors,” Horner told Sky Sports in a new documentary released on Wednesday called ‘Secrets of Success’.

“I’ve never been a believer that you can be the best mate of your competitor. I think it’s dishonest.

“Competition… I want everyone in my team to see whoever we are racing against is the competition and that’s who we are there to compete with and, as a team, we are united (against them).

“I do have a huge amount of respect for Toto and everything he has done and achieved but we are very different characters with different personalities.

“He will inevitably use the media to try and put pressure and the spotlight on what we’re doing and vice versa.”

With eight wins from eight races Red Bull are racing away with this year’s championship double with Max Verstappen 69 points up on Sergio Perez in the Drivers’ standings and Red Bull sitting on 321 points to Mercedes’ 167.

The latter, though, has began to close the gap on the track with deficit between the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix and round eight, Canada, more than halved.