Chris Evans makes on-air request to Christian Horner
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Christian Horner’s name was never far away from the headlines in 2021 as the rivalry between his Red Bull team and Mercedes intensified. The team principal’s war of words with Toto Wolff was one of the sideshow’s that captivated F1 fans, as Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton battled it out for the drivers’ championship.
Ultimately, it was Verstappen who prevailed in dramatic fashion at the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, a triumph Horner himself undoubtedly played a hand in after FIA race director Michael Masi adhered to his request to alter the safety car procedure late in the race.
The controversy didn’t end there, with Wolff and co duly launching two failed protests over what transpired, although following an FIA enquiry, Masi was removed from his position.
Regardless, the Dutchman’s win represented a first drivers’ title for Red Bull and Horner since Sebastian Vettel notched his fourth consecutive crown in 2013.
After a race career in Formula 3000, Horner became the youngest ever team principal in F1 when in 2005, at 31 years of age, he was recruited by the Austrian team.
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The now 48-year-old, who in 2015 married former Spice Girl Geri Halliwell, has just overseen another big boost for his team, with Verstappen committing his long-term future to Red Bull after signing a deal reportedly worth £40 million a year.
The figures involved dwarf the current salary of Horner himself, although the Englishman hasn’t been short of lucrative contracts as his stature within the sport has grown.
Indeed, in December, it was reported he would extend his own contract until 2026, in a deal reportedly worth £7.62 million a year.
And according to Celebrity Net Worth – in statistics released early in 2022 – prior to negotiating that deal he already enjoyed an overall net worth of £38.1 million.
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Red Bull advisor Helmut Marko, who also oversees the team’s driver development programme, admitted Horner had come a long way since joining 17 years previously.
“[Red Bull owner] Dietrich Mateschitz said, ‘Christian who?’ in the beginning as Christian had zero experience in Formula,” admitted Marko.
“But I already knew him from Formula 3000 and other junior categories and I knew about his ambitions and skills. Now that has developed into something great.
“He is a charismatic team boss who, by the way – even before you [Verstappen] – was in the process of extending his contract until 2026.”
However, Horner still falls way short of the reported net worth of Austrian rival Wolff.
He is estimated to be worth a massive £438 million, far in excess of any other F1 team principal.
But it’s on the track that counts, and Horner will be desperate to go one further next season and add the constructors’ championship to Red Bull’s haul in 2022.
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