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How Wolff and Horner have cemented status as F1's elite

The Red Bull and Mercedes Team Principals have far outlasted their rivals as longest-serving current F1 bosses.

Horner Wolff Abu Dhabi
To news overview © Getty Images

Guenther Steiner's shock split from Haas last week has left Christian Horner and Toto Wolff well clear as the longest-serving Team Principals currently in F1.

The Red Bull and Mercedes bosses have amassed 29 seasons at the helm between them in a time of turbulence for those at the top of outfits across the grid.

So how have the duo, who have been in conflict in recent years, established themselves as F1's elite?

Christian Horner

Horner is the longest-serving Team Principal currently in F1 having been in charge at Red Bull since the team entered the sport for the 2005 season.

Since then, the Briton has helped form an empire which has seen the team flourish into a regular front-runner - a dominant force in recent years - with a second team on the grid in the form of AlphaTauri [new name yet to be announced] and the biggest driver academy in motorsport.

Horner was instrumental in acquiring design guru Adrian Newey's services and had worked hand-in-hand with Motorsport Advisor Helmut Marko in delivering the Red Bull brand to success.

Seven drivers' titles in 19 seasons is an astonishing hit-rate for any outfit entering F1, let alone a non-OEM having to take on an engine supply from a rival on the grid.

A state-of-the-art engineering campus in Milton Keynes has recently welcomed a new powertrains facility as the team embarks on an ambitious engine development project in conjunction with Ford, with Horner the driving force behind the initiative.

Red Bull's powerhouse status, whilst obviously partially attributable to late owner Dietrich Mateschitz, is a huge string to Horner's bow and is a huge part of why he has established a strong political stance within the paddock.

His answers when facing the media are always very thought through, concisely put and often piercing - a fine example of which was his response to the 2021 budget cap breach fallout two years ago.

The way Horner was able to handle consistent media pressure and take all that on his shoulders to enable that season's on-track success to still shine through was a masterclass in leadership. It is hard to see a split between the two parties at all, despite rumours in recent years of talks with Ferrari.

			© Red Bull Content Pool
	© Red Bull Content Pool

Toto Wolff

Wolff had joined Mercedes ahead of his tenure as Team Principal and CEO but he took over the reigns from Ross Brawn for the 2014 season.

The Silver Arrows' hit rate in the past 10 seasons with Wolff at the helm has been nothing short of spectacular with seven Drivers' titles [six for Lewis Hamilton, one for Nico Rosberg] and eight Constructors' titles in that period.

What Wolff has established is a winning culture at the Brackley-based outfit, with a well-documented no-blame system for when things go wrong - each individual's voice is willing to be heard.

Whilst only one win has been picked up in the past two seasons, Wolff has been vocal in encouraging growth from the rest of the team and has been pivotal in keeping Hamilton a part of the team, including the various initiatives aimed at tackling the societal issues close to the Briton's heart.

Wolff's longevity means, like Horner, he has established himself as a leading voice when it comes to political matters in the sport, though the pair often butt heads when discussing sensitive topics: The Canadian Grand Prix Team Principals' meeting covered in Netflix's Drive to Survive a case in point.

There have been rumours in recent years that Wolff would relinquish control whilst still at the top, something he has himself alluded to, but there is no suggestion that any change will come in the near future.

Both Horner and Wolff have set themselves as the benchmark when it comes to leading a team in F1. Any Team Principal that can come even halfway to the impacts they have had on their respective teams can be seen as being successful.

			© XPBimages
	© XPBimages

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