Red Bull boss Christian Horner takes jab at Toto Wolff but refuses to rule out Mercedes

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Red Bull boss Christian Horner fired another shot at Mercedes chief and rival Toto Wolff by suggesting the Austrian is not a ‘nice guy’. However, Horner refused to rule out the Silver Arrows when it comes to championship contention in 2022. 

In 2021, Horner and Wolff were often at one another’s throats as the Drivers’ Championship battle between Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton reached boiling point. However, Mercedes have struggled to keep pace in 2022 – with Ferrari instead taking the fight to Red Bull.

As a result of the iconic Italians returning to the fore, there have been no public displays of animosity between Horner and Wolff. The Red Bull boss claimed the rivalry between himself and Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto is very different to his relationship with the Austrian.

“Well, Mattia is a nice guy. So I mean, it’s just a different kind of competition,” Horner said.

“But you’re writing Toto off. There’s plenty of time for him to get himself back in the show. But, look, I think we’re very much focused on ourselves. All nine teams are our competitors.

“And I think last year, there was a lot of needle, there was a lot going on off track, as well as on track, whereas this season, this year seems much more focused about what’s going on on track. And I think the racing has been great between Charles and Max.

“The first races have been epic. And if that continues through the season, inevitably, it’s going to boil over at some point as it gets more competitive and the stakes get higher in the second half of the year. 

“But certainly, what we’ve seen so far has been, very respectful racing, hard racing, but fair racing. And as I said, I think you’re going to see Mercedes joining that party fairly soon.”

The change in tension between the championship rivals is clear as leader Charles Leclerc and world champion Max Verstappen is very good given they have known each other and raced as competitors for years. Horner revealed in Miami that the respect shown between the Monegasque and the Dutchman was particularly admirable.

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“I think it’s so tight with Ferrari, it’s been some great racing, and you can see that there’s a great respect between Charles and Max,” Horner admitted.

“They’re enjoying racing each other, you can see that, and I was rather hoping we weren’t set for another competitive year like last year. But it looks like this one could well go all the way as well.”

The 22-race F1 2022 campaign – which is expected to return to a record 23 races in the near future once a Russian Grand Prix replacement is found – continues with the Spanish Grand Prix in Barcelona on May 22.

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