Site logo

Toto's problems aren't his drivers, says Horner


Christian Horner reacts as Toto Wolff stirs the pot over Max Verstappen's plans for the future.

Having failed to take the Red Bull boss's suggestion and fix his ******* car, Toto Wolff has opted instead to antagonise the Briton by joining in the speculation over the three-time world champion's future.

What started out as a claim that Horner had abused his position at Red Bull and acted inappropriately in terms of a female member of staff, subsequently appeared to be much more, indeed a power play that goes even higher than the F1 team.

Suddenly the speculation wasn't just about Horner's future but that of Helmut Marko, Adrian Newey and Max Verstappen.

Despite the fact that Red Bull continues to dominate by a country mile and Mercedes is struggling to hold off Aston Martin, sections of the media continue to suggest that Verstappen could head to Mercedes, even though it would appear that current incumbent, Lewis Hamilton, can't get out quick enough.

Though he cannot currently beat the Austrian team on track, Wolff knows that he can at least score with Horner in other ways, and when asked about Verstappen's future today took full advantage.

"There's so many factors that play a role for a driver joining," said the Austrian. "Clearly when you look at it from the most rational point of view you can say well, that's the quickest car in the hands of the quickest driver.

"But I don't think that this is the only reason you stay where you are," he continued. "I think, let's say, for simple minds that might be the only reason why you stay in a car and that's it. But maybe there is more depth to other people who consider other factors too and I think Max has depth.

"In that respect are we going to convince him? I don't think it's a matter of convincing. I think Max knows motor racing better than anyone and he will take decisions that he feels are good for him and I think a few factors play a role but he's the one that's going to trigger some more domino stones to fall afterwards.

"Everybody's waiting for what he's going to be doing. If I was Max, I would stay at Red Bull for 2025, but I'm not Max. It is the quickest car, but there are other factors.

"I don't think anyone can sell anything to Max, Jos and Raymond (Vermeulen, his manager)," said Wolff. "Their combined understanding of motorsport, whether you sell well or not is not going to change anything. It is a question of where they feel the future is best for them, considering a lot of factors.

"We are in a very good position for 2026," he insisted. "We are ambitious with the targets we have set ourselves for the power unit, for the batteries, for the fuel, and I think if we are able to produce a decent chassis we are a good value proposition. But who knows."

Horner rose to the bait.

"I've got to think carefully what I say here," he admitted. "I can assure you there is no ambiguity over where Max will be driving next year. It's not about pieces of paper at the end of the day we know he has a contract to the end of 2028. It's about how he feels in the team and the relationship he has in the team and the way he's performing.

"I don't think Toto's problems are his drivers," he continued. "I think he's probably got other elements he needs to be focusing on rather than focusing on drivers that are unavailable."

Asked if he would like to see Verstappen publicly commit to Red Bull, even though he has already done just that, Horner snapped: "I don't know how many more times he needs to say it, he's said it numerous times!

"Look, I'm not going to get drawn in," he added. "Sometimes it's just designed to create noise.

"We've moved today ahead of the amount of races that Mercedes have won in the modern era, so the team's on form, why on earth would you want to leave this team?

"Mercedes are the third team behind their customers at the moment, so I think Toto's time would perhaps be better spent focusing on the team rather than the driver market."

Ouch, as they say.

Check out our Sunday gallery from Shanghai here.


more news >



galleries >

  • latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • latest F1/Formula 1 images


or Register for a Pitpass ID to have your say

Please note that all posts are reactively moderated and must adhere to the site's posting rules and etiquette.

Post your comment



1. Posted by ffracer, 23/04/2024 11:33

"Forgive me, it should have read: ... why do we need to worry about Mercedes losing George Russell?"

Rating: Neutral (0)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

2. Posted by ffracer, 23/04/2024 11:30

"Good read. The second paragraph just encapsulated the last six stressful months of Christian Horners life... To me, Christian Horner is James Bond

@ equator180: remind us please why we need about Mercedes losing George Russell? Sorry, he has proven that he chokes under pressure, not a No 1 driver. Tally up the crash damage, how is he an improvement over Valteri Bottas?"

Rating: Positive (3)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

3. Posted by equator180, 22/04/2024 9:40

"Toto should worry about keeping George after 2025 then he may have an issue getting a driver to replace Hamilton. In addition to the Merc team being beaten by two teams using their equipment, they are doing so substantially. Toto is in trouble; his team seems to be falling apart, maybe he is part of the problem."

Rating: Positive (4)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

4. Posted by kenji, 21/04/2024 23:35

"@ Chester...Obviously he's uncomfortable so maybe an extended vacation would be the best solution all round. I mean not only is the car sub par but he's got non stop whining from car 44 to bear as well!!! Being the GTPOAT comes with both the good and the bad."

Rating: Negative (-1)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

5. Posted by Chester, 21/04/2024 20:05

"Ouch, indeed. Toto has not been the same since the end of 2021. Strange how only hindsight can reveal turning points. It has been downhill ever since for Toto. "

Rating: Positive (3)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

Share this page


Copyright © Pitpass 2002 - 2024. All rights reserved.

about us  |  advertise  |  contact  |  privacy & security  |  rss  |  terms