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Horner and Wolff keen to move on from 'brutal' 2021 season

Red Bull and Mercedes team bosses Christian Horner and Toto Wolff appear to have reached a peaceful truce to kick off the 2022 Formula 1 season.

After a hugely vitriolic and terse 2021 championship battle that saw relations between the Red Bull and Mercedes camps completely break down by the end of the year, the respective team bosses appear to be approaching the new season with a clean slate. Toto Wolff and Christian Horner were both present for a press conference with media in Barcelona on Wednesday, with a moment of light relief at the start of the session as Wolff offered Horner a Mercedes-branded face mask after Horner had forgotten his own. With time having diminished some of the anger accumulated last season, Horner and Wolff were both in a diplomatic mood as they were asked about their rivalry heading into the new season. "I think 2021 has been well documented," Horner told media, including RacingNews365.com . "I think that maybe we share differences of opinion over Abu Dhabi but that's now done and dusted. All focus is very much now on 2022. "I think what you did see last year was a fantastic competition from the first race to the last race. I think that's been a key part of Formula 1's revival in popularity, that competition, and we hope that there's going to be an equally exciting year." Asked whether he'd welcome a similarly exciting and close-fought title battle this year, Horner smiled. "Ideally, a little less exciting at times!" he said. "But an exciting season [is] ahead, and I think there could be some other competitors joining that battle as well. "Particularly with a clean sheet of paper with these brand new cars, it's a complete reset. It's arguably the biggest regulation change in the last 40 years, but I'm sure the intensity of the rivalry between the teams and the drivers will be as pertinent as ever."

Horner and Wolff agree about "moving on"

Wolff, sitting alongside Horner as he made his points, agreed with his Red Bull counterpart and said the extent of the bitterness of the feud was somewhat expected. "It got fierce at times and brutal," he commented. "But there's a lot at stake, it's a Formula 1 World Championship and there is the fighting on track and the fighting off track for advantages, so that's OK. "But I agree with Christian, we need to move on. There's been so much talk about Abu Dhabi, that it came to a point that it is really damaging for all of us – stakeholders, F1, and we've closed the chapter, and moved on. "Now it's about 2022. The game is on again, all points to zero, [there's] new opportunity and new risks." Like Horner, Wolff said there wasn't a whole lot enjoyable about the battle, but that a close fight like 2021 was always likely to result in a deteriorating relationship. "Nobody likes to have permanent controversy, but it's the field in which we have decided to operate," he summed up. "Everybody needs to defend the interests of the team, so it's to be expected. I don't know if I enjoy it, but it's part of the job."

RESULTS 2024 F1 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix - Free Practice 3