Christian Horner speaks out on winding Toto Wolff up

Red Bull ended Mercedes' eight-year streak of winning the Constructors' Championship in 2022.

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner has admitted that he doesn’t see himself ever going for a beer with Mercedes counterpart Toto Wolff, due to a friendship between the duo being “unrealistic”.

Horner and Wolff have developed a fierce rivalry over recent years, which ultimately reached its highest point towards the end of 2021.

2021, of course, saw the titanic battle between Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton, whilst it also saw Red Bull and Mercedes fight it out for the Constructors’ Championship.

Mercedes did claim the teams honours that season; however, it was Verstappen who walked away with the Drivers’ Championship.

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Verstappen infamously won the 2021 crown following a ‘human error’ by former race director Michael Masi, who broke the rules in the closing laps of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

Horner didn’t care though, given that Verstappen had finally toppled Hamilton.

Since then, Verstappen and Red Bull have been unbeatable, whilst Mercedes have struggled.

It’s meant that Horner and Wolff haven’t clashed much during the races, with their altercations coming off-circuit during press conferences or whilst talking to the media.

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Some would say that their rivalry in 2021 was just as big as Verstappen’s and Hamilton’s, whilst a few would even argue that it was bigger.

Unsurprisingly then, Horner doesn’t want to develop a “false friendship” with Wolff, especially as he seemingly enjoys winding the Austrian up.

“I’m not so sure Toto is the kind of person who goes to the pub,” Horner told TalkSport.

“I have never been a believer in that. He’s trying hard to beat us, we’re trying to ensure that we stay ahead of him.

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“While there has to be respect, I don’t see some form of false friendship. For me, it is unrealistic. It’s part of sport, part of competition. And it’s incredibly easy to pull his chain!

“There has to be a competitive rivalry. It’s not a garden party. We are there to win, to compete, every member of the team knows that. The team that wants to beat us the most is the one up the road.

“It’s important that people feel that rivalry. It drives people on to perform better. We want to win.”