Christian Horner’s ‘terrifying’ Red Bull power as Toto Wolff teases ‘exciting scenarios’ – F1 news round-up

Henry Valantine
Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff and Red Bull counterpart Christian Horner

Toto Wolff and Christian Horner

Miss any of Thursday’s F1 news? Fear not, we have you covered with the best of the headlines to come from the day.

We have two big exclusive interviews to bring you, as well as the best paddock chat from the day as we hurtle towards the first off-weekend of the 2024 season.

F1 news round-up – 14 March 2024

Christian Horner’s ‘terrifying’ power at Red Bull questioned

Former F1 driver Christijan Albers believes it is “terrifying” that Red Bull team principal Christian Horner holds so much power at the team, after the internal investigation into him by Red Bull GmbH was dismissed following allegations of inappropriate behaviour.

Red Bull bosses were present in Bahrain in an apparent showing of a united front behind Horner, but tensions between him and most notably Jos Verstappen have appeared to bubble of late, and Albers explained on De Telegraaf’s podcast that it’s “terrifying” for him to hold so much influence.

“Because,” he said, “by the way it’s all being picked up and it’s just being waved away, then you make someone on the other side extra angry. I think a lot more will surface.

“Then, still, [Horner has] this drive and envy to still be able to get that number one position and just chop everyone’s head off.”

Read more: Christian Horner holds ‘terrifying’ power at Red Bull claims former F1 driver

Toto Wolff predicts ‘exciting scenarios’ if Christian Horner remains at Red Bull

Having made it public knowledge that he would “love” to sign Max Verstappen for next year, Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff has made it clear that he thinks certain things could come into play if Christian Horner remains in his role at Red Bull.

“I’m just saying: If Horner stays, there are exciting scenarios,” Wolff said to Austrian publication OE24, when asked about suggestions Verstappen could join Mercedes.

“Ultimately, it’s all about the Horner personnel. But as I said, I only read about what happens internally at Red Bull in the media.”

Read more: Toto Wolff predicts what happens next ‘if Christian Horner stays’ at Red Bull

Exclusive: Mika Hakkinen recounts tale of title-winning season, 25 years on

Now, this is something we’ve been excited about for quite some time, as our own Thomas Maher spoke to two-time World Champion, Mika Hakkinen, in-depth to get the inside scoop on his dramatic second title victory.

Anyone who followed that year will know it was a unique season in a number of respects, not least the fact that Michael Schumacher faced the rare prospect of playing second fiddle to his team-mate after breaking his leg halfway through the year.

On great form and with rare insight, hear from the Flying Finn as he talks through his second title win, 25 years on. We know we’re biased here, but it’s well worth your time.

Read more: The inside story of Mika Hakkinen’s dramatic 1999 title victory against Ferrari

Exclusive: Valtteri Bottas sets sights on Audi project as contract comes up for renewal

In our second exclusive of the day, we sat down with Valtteri Bottas to discuss his future for the first time in a long while, with the Finn having started the final season of his multi-year contract with Sauber, soon to become the full Audi works team in 2026.

He has set his stall out to try and be one of the drivers there in future, and hopes that will be the case moving forward.

“I think there could be interesting opportunities, because the way the cycle of driver contracts has now gone, there are actually quite a few open situations in different teams,” he told PlanetF1.com.

“I think there will be opportunities but, at the moment, my priorities are the Audi project and to get in there for the long-term. Ideally, as a leader. That’s my biggest goal now in terms of what I can see today, but obviously, things can change.”

Read more: Valtteri Bottas delivers update on F1 future as sport moves away from being ‘natural’

A Charlie Whiting story revisited, five years after his passing

And finally, Thursday marks a sombre anniversary for the world of Formula 1, with it being five years since long-time race director Charlie Whiting died aged just 66.

While he was a cornerstone of the continuing fight for safety on track and a helpful ear for the drivers away from the circuit, he was hailed as “our drivers’ man” by Sebastian Vettel in the hours after his death.

But as the sport’s de facto ‘referee’, he had to clamp down on the rules, and we have recounted one particular occasion from one of his last race weekends when Max Verstappen fell foul of the race director and his stewards, after an altercation with Esteban Ocon in the pit lane at Interlagos.

Read more: Revisited: When Charlie Whiting helped force ‘extremely upset’ Max Verstappen into ‘public service’