Christian Horner and Toto Wolff have spent the 2021 season attacking each other, especially when their riders got tangled up in the race. The Red Bull director reveals that these tensions reached a peak during the British Grand Prix, the scene of the first clash between the two drivers.
« It really came through at Silverstone, where there was suddenly a lot of dialogue between Toto and Michael [Masi, le directeur de course] » Horner told the Beyond the Grid podcast. « Then he emailed her, and then he went. And I was like ‘ok, I don’t want this, I’m going up’. »
« I thought it was incredibly one-sided, and that a team principal couldn’t lobby and influence the race director. Looking back, Toto and I had a pretty heated exchange at race direction. «
« At that time, Toto was obviously defending his point of view, that his driver shouldn’t be penalised, when I had a driver in hospital and a car that had retired from the race, so I felt obviously very affected by this situation. »
Horner admits some of his wrongs
Communications between Masi and Wolff, but also between Masi and Horner have multiplied over the course of the season. In Saudi Arabia, the race director was heard negotiating grid positions with the two teams, and Horner admits his share of responsibility for these excesses.
« I was probably guilty, because I pushed this point in strategy meetings and committee meetings saying ‘there’s an awful lot of intercom going on, and I think the spectators should be aware of it. aware’. »
« I thought the result of that would be that there would be less communication, but it would be fascinating exchanges, because the team manager would only call the race director if he had something really strong to say. say, and that we wouldn’t complain about something trivial enough. »
« In Barcelona, which I heard they were broadcasting Toto who communicated with Michael, I thought ‘it’s a bit strange. I never had an individual channel, it was always sent to me by the through our team manager. »
« After that race, I think we should have said ‘there should only be one communication between the race director and the team managers’. At that point, with the competitiveness, you become so motivated that’s only natural, you’re going to do your best for your team. »
« I think it happened in Abu Dhabi, where Toto, at several points in the race, tried not to have a Safety Car, they didn’t want us to be able to take over the course of the race.
« As soon as you hear that, because I get that transmission, the immediate reaction and that’s defense. The best form of defense is attack, and the worst thing is that the last person in someone’s ear one has the greatest influence. »