‘I’m not living as a tax exile in Monaco’: Horner fires thinly veiled jibe at Wolff

Christian Horner's relationship with Toto Wolff has deteriorated amid the intense battle between Red Bull and Mercedes.

Toto Wolff and Christian Horner war of words.v1

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner has aimed the latest of a long line of jovial digs at Mercedes counterpart Toto Wolff, calling him a “tax exile.”

It is reasonably well documented that Monaco is considered tax haven, and therefore a good place for wealthy people to go and live; several Formula 1 drivers live there, as does Wolff.

During the astonishingly tumultuous title fight last year between the two teams, Horner and Wolff aimed several retorts at one another as the battle became incrementally personal, and the Briton has now affirmed that he is a harder worker than the 50-year-old.

“We are very different. If I’m not at the racetrack, I’m in the factory. I’m not living as a tax exile in Monaco, running a team remotely,” he told the Daily Mail.

The 48-year-old reveals that he tries to make himself as available as possible to his team, and this comes from his different introduction to the pinnacle of motorsport compared with Wolff.

“I am hands-on. My diary is full from the moment I arrive to the moment I leave, dealing with issues within the team. I have very much an open-door policy,” he added.

“I grew up in the sport. I was a race driver that turned my hand to running a team. I’m a racer at heart.

“Toto has come from a very different background. He has a financial background and is very driven by what the balance sheet says. Results dictate that performance.

“Does he share the same passion as a racer? I have no idea. Will he be here in 10 years’ time or will he have cashed in and be on his super yacht? I have no idea.”

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Horner confirmed last year that “no relationship” exists between Red Bull and Mercedes, and after 1996 world champion Damon Hill previously affirmed that the personal rivalry between the two team bosses is a “front,” the Briton reveals that he is not Wolff’s best friend.

“My relationship with Toto is… you know, it’s professional,” he said.

“He’s not the kind of guy I’m going to go and have dinner with or spend private time with, but I have a respect for what he’s done and what he’s achieved.”

However, he equivocated that, while he may be easy to rattle, the Austrian is by no means a bad person.

“Of course, as far as I’m concerned, 2021 is done and dusted. It’s now all about 2022. Will he be the main opponent this year? I have no idea,” he added.

“Do I like him? I have no personal issue with Toto. He’s the kind of guy that bites quite easy, so it’s always fun to wind him up a bit. But he’s not a bad guy, that’s for sure.”

Sir Lewis Hamilton, who was cruelly beaten to the title by Max Verstappen on the final lap of last year’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, has recently expressed his belief that Red Bull and Ferrari have the edge over the eight-time constructors’ champions, but Verstappen has dismissed these comments.

Whether Mercedes are using their customary mind game tactics or there is genuine concern about their pace will be discovered during this weekend’s season opener in Bahrain.