Toto Wolff has said not much has changed in his relationship with Christian Horner, despite a friendly photo between the pair in Abu Dhabi.
Wolff and Horner’s rivalry as team bosses of the Mercedes and Red Bull teams, respectively, is almost as well-established and ferocious as any driver rivalry, with the pair rarely missing the opportunity to snipe at each other when given the chance.
But, with the 2023 season coming to a close in Abu Dhabi and battle ceasing for the moment, Wolff and Horner posed for a friendly photo together in the paddock that went viral online afterward – such is the unlikelihood of the pair looking happy to be in each other’s company.
Toto Wolff pours cold water on burgeoning Christian Horner friendship
While bitter feuds in F1 often have a habit of turning into friendships once away from the battleground that is the racetrack, Wolff and Horner aren’t quite at that stage yet as Wolff poured cold water on the idea of the photo being a ‘buddy’ moment.
Speaking to Austrian publication OE24, Wolff was asked about the moment and whether he and his Red Bull counterpart are now best buddies.
“That was on the way out of the paddock,” Wolff said.
“There was a nice group around Mark Mateschitz (Red Bull co-owner), his mother, and a few people I know well.
“I joined them and had a funny chat with Geri [Horner, Christian’s wife], and that’s how the photo came about.
“Friends? The last handshake might have been in 2021 before the last race. But you have to recognise the performance of your competitor.
“I have respect for what the Red Bull team has achieved.”
With Wolff having predicted that Red Bull would win every race in 2024, he said he expects a similar level of performance from the Milton Keynes-based squad in 2024 and isn’t sure yet whether his team will be able to join the battle at the very front.
“Thank God I was wrong, at least they didn’t perform in Singapore,” he said.
“But in the end, the combination of cars and drivers couldn’t even come close to the rest, let alone hope to win. They were in a galaxy of their own.
“And all logical arguments suggest that they will be very strong again in 2024.
“We simply have to get more performance out of the car. We’ll see whether we manage to do that on the stopwatch. Everything else until then is looking into the crystal ball.”
In the same interview, Wolff opted against adding his thoughts regarding the compliance investigation opened by the FIA, leaving it to the statement issued by his wife Susie Wolff.