Christian Horner continues war of words with Toto Wolff – ‘You have to defend yourself’

F1: Red Bull's Verstappen gets in shape for new season

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It’s been an intense battle between Red Bull and Mercedes on the track this season, and there’s been no shortage of needle off it either. Team bosses Christian Horner and Toto Wolff have been embroiled in a war of words throughout 2021, and now Red Bull chief Horner has opened up on the feud between the pair.

In an interview with The Guardian, the 47-year-old argued “You have to defend yourself,” having previously described Wolff as a “control freak.”

The German himself has also fired shots, calling Horner a “windbag who always wants to be on camera.”

The Red Bull Team Principal said: I have no issue with Toto but we are very different people. I tend to be quite straight and quite direct, that’s the way I’ve always operated. He operates in a different way but I have a lot of respect for what he’s done.”

Tensions between the two teams have hit boiling point this season, following collisions between Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton at both the British and Italian Grand Prix.

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However Horner, who has been at Red Bull since 2005, said the nature of the sport meant that clashes would be inevitable. He did however, hint that he felt the FIA had intensely sctrutinised his team.

“It’s a competition, and compared to the championship years when we were competing with Ferrari and McLaren from 2010 to 2013 this has been very different,” he continued.

“There is an awful lot more going on behind the scenes, constant campaigning of the FIA with all aspects of our car.

“You have to defend yourself if you come under attack as we have from the very beginning of the year – whether it was the concept of the aerodynamics with the FIA to pit stops to other aspects of the chassis, you name it.”

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For the last seven years, Mercedes have landed the F1 drivers’ title via Hamilton (six times) and Nico Rosberg, and Horner thinks the current situation, whereby Verstappen leads the British driver by six points in the title race, means his rival is under more pressure.

“He (Wolff) came into the sport with Mercedes in 2013 and the structure was already in place,” Horner said. “Ross Brawn had built that team. Lewis had already been signed.

“Toto’s done a tremendous job operating the team and maintaining their performance. But of course he’s never experienced anything other than winning. So it’s a different type of pressure now. It’s tough.”

Horner added he’s “got no need to” have a sit-down conversation with the 49-year-old, but did concede the slump at Red Bull had been frustrating after Sebastian Vettel won four straight titles from 2010-2013.

“It was frustrating. It’s very easy to lose motivation but there was an inner determination to get back into a winning position. We’ve retained tremendous continuity during that period.

“You look around the engineering office now and many of the people still here were with us from 2010 to 2013. So we’ve had great continuity but we’ve also brought along another generation of talent, youth and capability.”

Both Horner and Wolff are in Austin, Texas, this weekend for the American Grand Prix, as the title race heads towards an epic conclusion.

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