Christian Horner admits Mercedes chief Toto Wolff is ‘different’ to other team bosses

Mercedes boss hopes ‘robbed’ Lewis Hamilton will continue racing

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Red Bull chief Christian Horner has admitted his Mercedes counterpart Toto Wolff is a “different kind of animal” compared to other team bosses he has come up against during his time in Formula 1. The Brit is in charge of the one team which has managed to put up a real fight against Mercedes in the last few years.

Since the hybrid era began in 2014, the Silver Arrows have been almost wholly dominant in the sport.

Mercedes have won the constructors’ title every year, and had done the same in the drivers’ championship until Max Verstappen spoiled their party last season.

Both Wolff and Horner have been with their respective employers throughout that time, and have come to know each other very well.

There is a lot of mutual respect there and even perhaps a friendship, but all good feelings between them were tested as things heated up in the 2021 season.

As things got more spicy on the track between Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton, the same was happening on the pit wall as tensions became more obvious between the two team bosses.

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They were often critical of one another when speaking to the media, to the point where at times it felt personal.

One such occasion was when Wolff responded to a dig from Horner by referring to the Red Bull chief as “a windbag who wants to be on camera”.

Horner has now revealed that he is not a fan of getting involved in such arguments, but admits it comes with the territory.

He went on to say Wolff is different from other team principals he has faced in the past, as the Austrian is ready for a scrap if he feels one is needed.

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“When we were fighting Sebastian Vettel against Fernando Alonso for the world championship, Stefano Domenicali was the team boss of Ferrari,” Horner told Formule 1 magazine in the Netherlands.

“At the time, the competition was of a different, let’s say, ‘gentleman’s level’. Last year was intense both on and off the track.

“I think Toto plays it differently – he’s a different kind of animal.

“Do I like it? No. Is it part of the sport? Yes.

“I don’t know if I’m good at it, but I have a great love for the sport. I grew up in this industry and I think what you do on the track is the most important thing that matters.”

After an acrimonious ending to the season last year, there’s every chance sparks could fly again when F1 action resumes in March.

If Hamilton chooses to continue in the sport, he will once again be gunning for an eighth world title while Verstappen will hope for a successful defence of his maiden crown.

Meanwhile, there is the added wildcard of other teams possibly being able to compete with them in 2022 with a swathe of new technical rules coming into force.

In theory, it gives the other teams on the grid a chance to out-develop their rivals and spring up the standings, potentially creating a whole new power dynamic in the new season.

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