Wolff Accuses Horner Of Trying To Polarise Fans Ahead Of Belgian GP

Mercedes team principal and CEO Toto Wolff has accused Red Bull team boss Christian Horner of trying to polarise Formula 1 fans.

The Austrian made the remark just days before Formula 1 returns from its summer shutdown in Belgium.

Mercedes and Red Bull have been locked in a fierce Championship battle since the season-opener in Bahrain, and tensions have boiled over on a number of occasions.

For example, Mercedes prompted an FIA investigation into the “flexible” rear wing of the Red Bull RB16B after they questioned its legality.

And following the British GP, Red Bull petitioned the FIA to review the 10-second time penalty it handed Sir Lewis Hamilton for colliding with Max Verstappen on the first lap.

The FIA ultimately deemed that there was no need to review the stewards’ decision, as Red Bull had failed to provide material and pertinent new evidence.

Commenting on the tensions with Red Bull this year, Wolff suggested that the Milton Keynes-based team have tried to “fuel controversy” on a number of occasions.

“The relationships were never splendid, and that comes from the sheer competition we have,” Wolff replied when asked by Motorsport.com if he is surprised by how the Silver Arrows’ relationship with Red Bull has worsened this year.

“But I would say that in the war of words, we have tried to maintain our cool, stay level-headed and not fuel controversy and polarisation among our fans even more.

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“The aim was always to de-escalate. Unfortunately, the opposite happens on the other side.”

Mutual Respect Not Lost

The Austrian emphasised that it’s more a case of certain individuals from the two camps not getting along with one another, rather than the entirety of both teams clashing off the track.

“It’s very important to not generalise Red Bull or Mercedes,” Wolff added.

“It’s very much a team sport and there are individuals involved.

“Just because certain individuals don’t get on well with each other, it doesn’t mean you are disrespecting the other entity and the people that work there, who are trying to do the best possible job in order to fulfil their own dreams and overcome their own worries.

“So there is always respect for these organisations, and for the people in the organisations and for the people in the teams.”