Christian Horner responds after Toto Wolff calls him ‘frightened’

Christian Horner has raised concerns about the 2026 engine regulations, which are set to see a 50-50 ratio of internal combustion and electrical power.

Toto Wolff and Christian Horner at the FIA press conference.v1

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner has hit back at Mercedes boss Toto Wolff, after the Austrian accused the Briton of being “frightened” that the Milton Keynes-based team’s power unit won’t be competitive in 2026.

2026 will see the introduction of the new power unit regulations, where for the first-time, Red Bull will produce their own engines, rather than rely on a supplier.

They’ve done this by creating a dedicated powertrain department, which has seen the Austrians move “ahead of schedule” for 2026, according to reigning World Champion Max Verstappen.

Verstappen and Horner though are concerned about the new engine regulations, and F1’s intentions for a 50-50 ratio of electrical power and internal combustion.

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The pair have called for F1 to make tweaks to the incoming regulations, something which Wolff has criticised.

Wolff stated at the Austrian Grand Prix last weekend that “you always have to question what is the real motivation” of such comments being made, whilst he suggested that Horner is concerned that Red Bull are set to be uncompetitive.

Horner has hit back at his rival though, by insisting that “my interest is actually about the sport rather than self-gain”.

The Red Bull boss has also silenced Wolff’s suggestions that the Austrians are struggling to design an effective power unit, with Horner insisting that actually the side are discovering issues with the regulations because they’re so far ahead of schedule.

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“I am not sure how close Toto is to his engine business,” Horner said, as reported by The Race.

“He’s a customer, he’s not involved in HPP’s [Mercedes High Performance Powertrains] business formally.

“The feedback that I am getting from the business and as you start to see the programme really coming to life and as the simulations firm up, [it reveals] some of the limitations. Which are inevitable.

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“I would say it is perhaps a result of us maybe being well advanced, that we’re actually seeing some of the limitations.

“It still doesn’t feel too late to tune that ratio. And it wouldn’t take much, it’s not like we’re saying we have to rip everything up and start again.

“Whether you do it on the fuel flow or the cell mass, you just need to change that ratio slightly to ensure that we get great racing.”