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Christian Horner

Horner aims dig at Wolff over fiery rivalry: 'I just wouldn't have done it'

The Red Bull and Mercedes Team Principals have been involved in a heated rivalry in recent seasons.

Horner Australia Red Bull
To news overview © XPBimages

Red Bull Team Principal Christian Horner has insisted it would be "dishonest" to have a friendly relationship with Mercedes counterpart Toto Wolff given the two team's F1 rivalry.

The Briton also aimed a dig at Wolff over his outbursts two seasons ago that saw headphones destroyed in anger.

Both Horner and Wolff were key protagonists in a fiery 2021 title challenge that ultimately fell the way of Max Verstappen in the Drivers' standings despite Mercedes taking team honours.

Across the season, the duo hit each other with verbal attacks in what often turned into an ugly war of words, whilst Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton often collided when battling on-track.

The rivalry has had no opportunity to evolve since then with Red Bull taking over command of the F1 landscape and Mercedes dropping back since the introduction of new technical regulations last season, though the Brackley-based outfit is showing signs of progress back towards race victories.

Speaking in an upcoming Sky Sports documentary called Secrets of Success, when asked about his relationship with Wolff, Horner said: "I have a huge amount of respect for everything that he has done and achieved.

"But we're competitors. I've never been a believer that you can be the best mate with your competitor. I think it's dishonest.

"I want everybody in my team to see that whoever we're racing against is the competition, that's who we're there to compete with and as a team that we're united."

'I would never smash a set of headphones'

A key moment that is often replayed to highlight the drama of the 2021 campaign is the moment Wolff destroyed a set of headphones after Hamilton and Verstappen controversially clashed at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.

"Any sport is a mind game but when you see a camp part losing it and smashing a set of headphones up you think 'OK, you're feeling the pressure'," explained Horner.

"And if he is feeling the pressure, then everybody else around him is feeling the pressure, because pressure permeates from the top.

"I would never smash a set of headphones up.

"Internally I would have smashed mentally those headphones just as hard as him but I just wouldn't have done it physically. I just think everybody is different."


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