horner wolff red bull mercedes

Horner: Wolff has had it too easy for last seven years

horner wolff red bull mercedes

One of the most intriguing sideshows of the Lewis Hamilton vs Max Verstappen battle is the war of words ramping up between their bosses Toto Wolff and Christian Horner as they battle for Formula 1 superiority.

The pair, not shy of a verbal spar in the past have been poking the needle more vigorously this season as Red Bull seriously take the fight to Mercedes, with their comprehensive victory and points haul at the recent Monaco Grand Prix setting them up as title contenders and championship leaders after five rounds.

Earlier this year, a raid by Red Bull on Mercedes power unit staff for their nascent Powertrains operation was decried by Wolff, who told reporters that “fifteen people and an empty workshop” does not constitute a threat to his mighty team.

It’s been like that, too and fro, tit-for-tat exchanges between the two camps since Hamilton vs Verstappen took centre stage at the start of the season in Bahrain, but now Horner has taken it to another level in an interview with New York Times.


Referring to the staff ‘poaching’ allegations, Horner said: “Toto has had it far too easy for the last seven years. It’s about time he had something to do.”

The animosity is growing in the public eye, as Nico Rosberg observed when talking to Sky Italia: “I think Wolff doesn’t like Horner very much because he doesn’t always talk about Christian in a sympathetic way.

“It’s really going to be quite a tug-of-war if Mercedes protests against Red Bull’s flexible rear wing. Wolff has already said he intends to do so, so that could happen next race in Baku.

“It could even be that this game starts before the start of the Grand Prix in Baku and then things will really start moving. This issue is really something that is on the minds of the whole of Formula 1,” added Rosberg.

Which would add a whole new front to tackle on the current F1 battleground for both teams, until then the talking will be done on track.

The prospect of battling Red Bull on equal terms inspires Mercedes, according to their boss Wolff after Lewis Hamilton won in Barcelona: “They bring out the best in us. You never know how it’s going to end, who’s going to be in front and I hope that it’s going to remain like this until the end of the season.

“It’s what the sport needs and we enjoy that fact. So it’s a fight of the giants and I still have the feeling that we haven’t got the pace on Saturday that we should, but we seem to be quicker on Sunday – and I simply love it.”

For Horner, this season offers an opportunity to seriously goad the World Champions, Wolff in particular because with Verstappen in top form they have a formidable winning package: “It’s much more enjoyable going to races knowing you’ve got a chance.”

“We’ve worked hard as a team to get ourselves back into this position, and we’ve made some big decisions along the way in order to get there.

“This team has a racing spirit, a racing DNA. That’s what it’s all about so, of course, it’s a much more enjoyable experience when you go to a track knowing you’ve got a chance rather than just being a participant,” ventured Horner.

Wolff has also relished the off-track shenanigans and suggesting it’s all part of the F1 show: “We love the battle. It’s just what the doctor ordered after the past seven years.

“And the relationship is always respectful. I think the job that Christian has done is very good and he was the youngest Team Principal to have won a world championship; he’s done four in a row.

“[Red Bull] 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,” insisted Wolff.

It will be interesting to see how the Mercedes boss reacts to Horner’s latest remarks because, no matter what, that’s got to hurt Wolff, after all this is the NYT. Maybe, off-track the gloves are off too, or soon will be.