Wolff hits back at Horner’s ‘illegal’ sidepods comment

Sam Cooper
Toto Wolff staring at Christian Horner. Bahrain December 2020

Mercedes motorsport boss Toto Wolff staring at Red Bull team boss Christian Horner with a serious look on his face. Bahrain December 2020.

Toto Wolff has dismissed Christian Horner’s claim that Mercedes’ sidepods are illegal and asked how he could know having only seen the car for half an hour.

The off-track war of words between Wolff and Horner was a common trend last season that only got fiercer as the title race between Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen moved closer to the wire.

The 2022 season may still not yet have officially begun but the pair are already back at it.

As the teams took to Bahrain for the second round of testing, the talk of the track was the new Mercedes and its revamped sidepods.

The sidepods, or lack there of, on the W13 are remarkably different from every over car on the track and have reportedly produced excellent results in the simulator.

As the cars cruised around the track during the first session, off track a story was brewing as to what exactly Red Bull team principal Christian Horner said in regards to the Mercedes car.

The first quote to emerge came from the usually reliable source Auto Motor und Sport and its journalist Michael Schmidt.

The German magazine reported Horner as calling the W13 sidepods “illegal” and that it violated the spirit of the regulations.

However, his team were quick to deny such comments and issued a short statement saying “Please note, Christian has not spoken with any media or made any comments about the Mercedes car.”

They later appeared to backtrack on the statement, clarifying that the team had made “no official comment regarding Mercedes’ car and will not be doing so.”

Schmidt’s claim was supported by the BBC’s Andrew Benson who tweeted that it was clear Horner spoke to Schmidt “extensively” and that he was quoted as saying what had been reported.

While it has yet to be confirmed fully if Horner did say what had been reported, his alleged comments appear to have irked his longtime rival and opposite number Toto Wolff.

According to the Express, Wolff is quoted as saying: “How does he know half an hour after he saw the car for the first time that our car is supposed to be illegal?”


Horner was eventually tracked down by Sky Sports F1 where he said he been “surprised” by the story.

“I was slightly surprised to be reading comments I’m supposed to have been making, but there we go,” Horner told Sky F1.

“I haven’t paid a great deal of attention to [the Mercedes]. It’s obviously a fairly different concept, but that’s for the designer guys and aerodynamicists to get into.”

“Let the guys digest it and understand it.”


Red Bull deny Horner made Mercedes comments

Red Bull have denied that Christian Horner made comments surrounding the W13.