13-time Grand Prix winner David Coulthard said he gets “uncomfortable” with how the media build-up the rivalry between Toto Wolff and Christian Horner.
The epic 2021 title battle between Red Bull and Mercedes was the catalyst for rivalries between not only drivers Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen, but also Red Bull team boss Christian Horner and his Mercedes counterpart Toto Wolff.
The pair maintained that a professional respect exists, the now light-hearted digs often exchanged in more recent times with the on-track rivalry having cooled.
Toto Wolff and Christian Horner rivalry hyped by media
Speaking on the Formula For Success podcast, Coulthard drew attention to a photo taken at the F1 2023 season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix which broke the internet, featuring Wolff and Horner together happy and smiling.
Coulthard said this was a reminder that F1 is not “warfare”, as he believes the media at times try to make it out to be between the two team bosses.
“Sometimes I get a little bit uncomfortable with this sort of build-up in the media, the battle between Mercedes and Red Bull, or let’s say more, I guess between Toto and Christian,” he said.
“I was actually quite happy to see Geri Horner [member of iconic pop group The Spice Girls and Christian’s wife] snuggled up, cuddled up to Toto and Christian there and our great friend Anita Gerhardter from Wings for Life, all smiling and in a happy place.
“Because at the end of the day, it’s competition, it’s racing, but it’s not warfare.”
Coulthard’s podcast co-host, former F1 team boss Eddie Jordan, also weighed in on that topic, discussing the mix of emotions he felt in his time in F1 towards then rival team bosses Flavio Briatore at Benetton/Renault and Ron Dennis at McLaren.
He said: “A lot of people at the Jordan stage, they thought there was a bit of a fiery relationship between Flavio and I, and I’d have to say, of all the people that I’d like to go out and have a pint with afterwards or discuss, well, you know, when you’re discussing with Flavio, it’s usually a different kind of thing altogether, but he was such a cool guy.
“And there was times, I won’t use the word hate, but I disliked him, I hated the way he went about that team. But he was so successful for a guy who had little or no background, no DNA of motor racing in his blood. And yet he was able to achieve that no-one else has come into the sport, and taken on and be as successful as him.
“So if you like, I agree with you that it’s very hard because we’re in the sport and we’ve all got to get on together.
“I mean, there were times that I disliked Ron, but I think, in many respects, Ron was my hero because of what he achieved. And McLaren have had a good season this year, but nowhere even close to what the level that Ron was able to get them to do. So I never had a problem with that.
“And I think sports people and particularly Formula 1, the ability to have or being able to segregate what is hard, hard competition and do anything to defeat your opposition on the track, when that race and the chequered flag comes down, yes, there’s a little bit of cooling off, but everyone goes home on the same planes, they all have a chat together.”
Horner and Wolff will soon re-join their F1 colleagues for what is set to be a record-breaking 24-round calendar in F1 2024.
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