Horner v Wolff war wages on as Verstappen accused of deliberate Hamilton block – F1 news round-up

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Toto Wolff and Christian Horner side-by-side.

Toto Wolff and Christian Horner side-by-side.

Check out the latest F1 news headlines as Christian Horner and Toto Wolff exchange their latest war of words and Max Verstappen’s block on Lewis Hamilton in Austria goes under the spotlight.

Elsewhere in the world of F1, there is concern for Aston Martin in their attempts to stay at the front of the competitive battle for the second-fastest team on the grid, whilst Lando Norris has strong words for any potential ‘Just Stop Oil’ protesters at the British Grand Prix.

Let’s dive into the top stories, shall we?

Christian Horner takes swipe at “typical Toto”

We may still only be less than halfway through the F1 2023 campaign, but that does not mean it is too early for fierce debate on the new regulations coming for 2026.

And when Wolff and Horner are the the ones having the back-and-forth, it is of little surprise to see a bit of tension bubble up.

Horner believes the regulations need a further revision, citing his concerns over the ratio of electrical and Internal Combustion Engine power, yet Wolff firmly shut the door on any hope that Horner could get his wish, suggesting it is actually a reflection of Red Bull fearing their Red Bull Powertrains programme is not delivering.

“Unfortunately that’s typically Toto where he’s just focused on self-performance,” Horner responded, quoted by Sky Sports. “My interest is actually about the sport rather than self-gain.”

Read more: Christian Horner takes swipe at ‘typical Toto’ as accusations fly over F1 2026 rules

Sky F1 pundit passes judgement on Max Verstappen/Lewis Hamilton block

Perhaps track limits were, understandably, taking up the bulk of Race Control’s capacity to referee in Austria, as an interesting altercation involving Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen was not so much as acknowledged.

Verstappen had complained of Hamilton impeding him on a push lap during qualifying for the sprint race, Mercedes admitting they had not informed Hamilton correctly of Verstappen’s approach, but Verstappen on the following lap would then appear to block Hamilton at Turn 1 and Turn 2 as he attempted a hot lap.

That sealed Hamilton’s exit at the SQ1 stage and Wolff branded it a “revenge foul” by the Red Bull driver and Championship leader.

Sky F1 pundit Naomi Schiff fully agrees with Wolff, saying that this is “exactly what it was”.

Read more: Max Verstappen accused by Sky F1 pundit of ‘clearly intentional’ Lewis Hamilton block

Concern grows for Aston Martin in fierce P2 race

While Aston Martin bounced back from a subdued performance in Spain with a return to the podium via Fernando Alonso in Canada, the team will surely be concerned by a fresh setback at the Austrian Grand Prix, when the hope would have been that it was merely a blip.

Lance Stroll would outqualify two-time World Champion team-mate Fernando Alonso for only the second time, securing P6 on the grid to Alonso’s P7, that turning into P5 for Alonso and P9 for Stroll after post-race penalties were applied.

This time around then it was Ferrari providing the closest challenge to Red Bull, and former Williams racer Jack Aitken suspects Ferrari may have replaced Aston Martin as ‘best of the rest’.

Asked by the BBC’s Chequered Flag podcast if Ferrari have replaced Aston Martin as the P2 team, Aitken said: “It definitely looks like that way. Aston do seem to be sliding back a little bit, whether it’s because of the development race and not quite having the same pace as Ferrari.”

Read more: Concern for Aston Martin with ‘difficult period’ looming large on F1 horizon

Lando Norris issues firm message to ‘Just Stop Oil’ protesters

Concerns are growing that climate activist group Just Stop Oil could make their presence felt at Silverstone again this year, following a protest down the Wellington Straight at last season’s British Grand Prix which led to six arrests.

Recently, protestors caused disruption to the England vs Australia Ashes cricket test at Lords, and McLaren driver Norris hopes nobody will be “stupid” enough to risk their lives with interference at a live race track.

“I guess there’s a concern over it, of course,” Norris told media including PlanetF1.com when asked about protestors interrupting sporting events of late.

“I think to do such a thing is, I’m not going to lie, it’s a stupid thing to do, to put your life in danger with cars driving around.

“It’s a very selfish thing to do at the same time – this particular act of what happened last year, because of the consequences it also has on a person that’s driving the car if something happened.”

Read more: Lando Norris casts verdict as concerns grow over ‘stupid’, ‘selfish’ Silverstone protests

The next driver in line at Red Bull?

The story for Red Bull at both of their Formula 1 teams so far this season feature one driver who is delivering the goods, and another who is struggling to keep up.

In the main team, Sergio Perez has now missed out on Q3 over the last four races, and while Austria did feature a strong recovery drive to P3, these kind of performances have drawn criticism for a driver armed with the dominant car in Formula 1.

At AlphaTauri meanwhile, Nyck de Vries is reportedly required to step up his game to avoid suffering in-season replacement, as his rookie season with the team continues to falter.

And if Red Bull are to do any shuffling in their driver ranks, then Sky F1’s pit lane reporter Ted Kravitz understands that Red Bull junior Liam Lawson, currently competing in Japan’s Super Formula series, is next in line.

“It looks like Liam Lawson is next for any seats that either AlphaTauri or Red Bull Racing might have going, but anyway it looks like Perez will continue next year anyway,” said Kravitz on his ‘Ted’s Notebook’ programme.

“The rehabilitation of [Daniel] Ricciardo, if you want to call it that, will take a bit longer.”

Read more: Next Red Bull driver ‘on the ladder’ emerges with Daniel Ricciardo doubts cast