Despite Nico Rosberg’s opinion that Toto Wolff “doesn’t like Christian Horner very much”, the Mercedes F1 boss has “respect” for his Red Bull rival.
Mercedes and Red Bull are locking horns both on and off the track this season, with races being dominated by Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen who look set for a battle royal over the Drivers’ title.
Back in the paddock and in the press conference room, things have also heated up verbally – with talk of protests over front and rear wings which it has been suggested are bending the rules by flexing too much on the cars.
Wolff and Horner have been at loggerheads, with Rosberg, now a TV pundit, telling Sky Italia he thinks his former Mercedes team principal “doesn’t like Horner very much because he’s not always that, shall we say, sympathetic to him”.
But rather than comment on whether Horner is someone he would enjoy going for a drink with, Wolff has praised his counterpart’s professional capabilities since he joined Red Bull in 2005.
“I think the job Christian has done is very good,” said Wolff, quoted by the Formula 1 website. “He was the youngest team principal to have won a World Championship, he did four in a row.
“The team has always been our strongest competitor and for that reason, we are fighting gloves-off on the track for any millimetre of political advantage. But I have respect for the person.”
This season has the potential to be the best in F1 for several, if not many, years with Hamilton and Verstappen going head-to-head – and Wolff compared it to a soap opera.
“It’s great that we have a fight between two outstanding drivers and the championship has swung in both directions,” said the 49-year-old Austrian.
“Things are being said that are good for entertainment and I would attribute that sentence to the entertainment factor, which is great to talk about and write about. This is action on the track and soap [opera] off the track.
“We love the battle. It’s just what the doctor ordered after the past seven years. We also like that Ferrari was in the game [in Monaco] and no doubt McLaren we will see performing in qualifying and the race.”