Toto Wolff accuses Christian Horner of ‘harassment’ in playful paddock moment

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

Toto Wolff jokingly accused Christian Horner of harassment as the Red Bull team boss touched his rear wing, if you will, while the Mercedes boss was being interviewed after the Belgian Grand Prix.

A lot has been written about Wolff and Horner’s relationship going back to 2021 when the team bosses famously fell out as their drivers raced wheel-to-wheel for the F1 World title.

Despite Mercedes falling off the pace the following season, Red Bull winning 17 of that year’s 22 grands prix, there was no thawing in the relationship with their porpoising argument during a team boss meeting one of the highlights in Nexflix’s Drive to Survive.

Toto Wolff: That’s harassment!

More recently, as they now clash over the 2026 engine regulations, Horner has made it clear they are not friends and never will be as “it’s not a garden party”, rather it’s a “competitive rivalry”.

He added to TalkSPORT: “Whilst there has to be respect, I don’t see some form of false friendship.”

But that doesn’t mean they don’t have their moments, although they are few and very, very far between.

There was one after the Belgian Grand Prix, a race won by Max Verstappen in a Red Bull 1-2 while Lewis Hamilton and George Russell were fourth and sixth, with Horner brushing past Wolff as the latter spoke to the media.

“That’s harassment!” was Wolff’s humorous reply.

But it’s not just Horner who was being a bit “cheeky” on Sunday with Wolff saying Verstappen is dishing out the same treatment, although his is on the track.

Coming from sixth on the grid to romp to a 22-second victory over his own team-mate Sergio Perez with the best non-Red Bull driver, Charles Leclerc, a further 10s back, Wolff says: “He has all the reasons to be cheeky.

“He is driving circles around everybody else on merit. You have got to watch that, on the one hand, as much as it is annoying.”

The Belgian Grand Prix marked Red Bull’s fifth 1-2 result in a season in which they have won every one of the 12 races. recommends

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Like his drivers, who said ahead of the race that F1 would be “so exciting if Max and Red Bull weren’t here at the moment“, Wolff reckons if Verstappen was taken out of the equation, 2023 would be an incredible season for Formula 1.

“You should really just leave Max out of the standings now,” he said.

“The second Red Bull is where we want to be. It would have been a fantastic season in that case with close racing!”

Read next: Belgian Grand Prix conclusions: Verstappen’s radio wars, Piastri’s arrival and more