Christian Horner reacts to the recent comments made by Toto Wolff amid the 2021 F1 tussle between the two outfits.

The 2021 F1 championship fight has been heated on and off the track for pretty much whole season. With Mercedes and Red Bull Racing team principals, Wolff and Horner, exchanging opinions and comments throughout the season.

With only five races left and a 19 points difference between Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton, the nail-biting title fight that began in Bahrain looks as though it won’t rest until the final chequered flag at the Abu Dhabi GP. Considering how close it is in both the driver’s and the constructors’ Championship, intensity is at an all-time high for both teams and so the media frenzy surrounding it has been just as intense.

In recent weeks, Wolff has been talking about Horner and his antics this year and how they view each other. While Verstappen and Hamilton has had a go at each other, the team principals have had similar vibes, especially with races in Silverstone and Monza.

“Protagonist in a pantomime” description by Wolff –

Horner: “We all know Toto has a lot to say. I was quite flattered actually, I mean, going called a protagonist, if you look at what the definition of that means, I think you also need an antagonist to have a protagonist. One could say that perhaps Toto fulfils that role pretty well – or if it were a pantomime then the pantomime dame role might suit him but look, it’s all about what goes on, on track. I think it’s a great competition between the teams, it’s no-holds barred, pit walls going against pit wall, drivers against drivers, engine suppliers against engine suppliers, chassis against chassis. It’s fantastic. We’re loving it and occasionally you’re going to get some flak thrown at you – but take it with a pinch of salt and sometimes even as a compliment.

To be honest with you as far as we are concerned it is all noise. It all depends on what you do on the track and if you can do your talking on the track then that has way more weight and value. Toto likes to throw in a comment here or there and that’s part of the needle, that’s part of the sport. He’s got a lot at stake. He’s going for an eighth world championship with his driver. We are going for a first with Max and to add to the titles we have already won. Formula 1 is a competition and as the pressure builds you see people react to pressure in different ways. We are at the business end of that championship now and you can feel the tension and that will only grow the longer this goes on. So if Toto wants to make a comment or two, I’m fine with that. It’s pantomime season coming up anyway, so it is what it is.”

If the fight could turn into a Senna-Prost bad blood title fight –

Horner: “I was disappointed to read in the comments [about eventual collision] that was being condoned. We want a really fair fight between now and the end of the championship and I think any driver would want to win the championship on track. We’re a team of racers and that’s… if we can pull off this feat – and it’s a massive, massive task – then we wouldn’t want to win a championship through a collision between the drivers. There’s been enough of those this year already. I think what we saw in Austin was a great fight between two drivers at the top of their game. I think a few more races like Austin between now and the end of the year, I think the biggest winner will be Formula 1. Nobody wants to see a championship decided in a gravel trap.”

Respect between Wolff and him –

Horner: “I have no issue with Toto. I think he has done a great job there in a team he inherited. Yeah of course there is respect, Mercedes are a phenomenal team. They have achieved great things and there is of course a respect between the two teams. But it is a competition. You can’t just accept… if we roll over and accept that Mercedes win every race, it’s pretty boring… Why do we turn up? We are here to go racing. We want to take the championship. We have been fighting to get into this position to take the fight to Mercedes for you know seven long seasons now and of course we have got ourselves into a competitive position, we want to make sure that we do our very, very best to convert this between now and the end of the year. It will be by far our biggest achievement in Formula 1 if we manage to do that in either of the championships.”

Possibly losing –

Horner: “Losing hurts. If it doesn’t hurt, go and do something else. If anybody is happy about finishing second they are in the wrong job. Sport is about winning and we are a hungry team, we are a race team and we have worked hard to get into this position and we have had a phenomenal year so far – nine race wins, however many podiums, I think 17 odd podiums, some great wins along the way – but it’s where you finish at the end of the year that really counts and everybody is very hungry for this and enjoying it. The most important thing is to enjoy the competition as well. So, if it winds Toto up a bit, that’s fine by us.”

The story was written by Selena Aburas

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