So much for a quiet off-season…Toto Wolff believes he lives in Christian Horner’s head “rent-free” in a fresh swipe at his old F1 foe.
Mercedes v Red Bull has snowballed into one of Formula 1’s fiercest rivalries in history with key protagonists Wolff and Horner acting as the catalysts in their respective roles of team bosses.
The incredible fight for the 2021 titles was littered with Wolff and Horner trading insults at each other as the F1 paddock often turned into a school playground, with the duo also clashing again in 2022 even without Mercedes being in the title picture.
In 2022, it was Wolff who was one of the leading critics and called for severe sanctions after Red Bull were found to be in breach of the budget cap.
And now, without even a wheel being spun or an engine turned on, Wolff has got the first punch in on Horner ahead of the F1 2023 season – a campaign that could see the Silvers Arrows trade blows with Red Bull again on a more regular basis.
“I am living in his head rent-free,” Toto Wolff said when asked about Christian Horner in an interview with The Times. “The guy is obsessed.
“Every second that I spend on talking about Horner is a waste of time in my life.”
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Even though Horner and Red Bull are such a source of annoyance for Wolff, he does still find pleasure in being in Formula 1.
However, something else is far, far more important to him.
“I have great moments in F1,” he said.
“I love the team, I love the challenge. But what I really love is my family. I have three children, who are 21, 18, and five years old. Having the family together is what gives me the greatest enjoyment.
“And with my wife [Susie Wolff] I have found the perfect partner. My wife can drive cars faster than I. But that is the least of her attributes. We are total soulmates.”
The focus should be on Lewis Hamilton, not Christian Horner
In terms of more pressing matters away from Horner, Wolff will be eager to tie down seven-time World Champion Lewis Hamilton to a new contract before the new season starts.
Wolff and Hamilton have always made a concerted effort to use the off-season as the time to sit down and come to an agreement, in order to stop the inevitable questions that would follow them both throughout the year if negotiations were to be dragged out.
Those talks are yet to begin, but both sides have made it very clear that F1 2023 will not be where one of F1’s most successful partnerships comes to an end.