Red Bull team principal Christian Horner has poked fun at Mercedes boss Toto Wolff, saying the Austrian would make a good pantomime villain.
Red Bull’s Max Verstappen and Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton are engaged in one of F1’s all-time great title fights this year. Tensions have been high between both drivers and both teams, with on-track collisions at Silverstone and Monza ramping up the drama.
Wolff and Horner have never seen eye to eye in F1 and this year’s title battle seems to have raised tensions between them further.
In a highly-publicized interview with the Daily Mail this week, Wolff said he fears Verstappen and Hamilton’s title fight will end with one driver taking out the other to win the championship. He also used the interview to take a jab at Horner and how he has escalated the tension with his comments to the media.
In the interview, Wolff said: « I feel he is one of the protagonists in a pantomime, part of the Formula One cast, and for me as a stakeholder, as a team owner, it’s great that he creates these kinds of stories.
« But it’s irrelevant. People have a microphone in front of them or a camera on them and they start to behave like little actors, like Hollywood. »
Horner, who has previously admitted he enjoys winding Wolff up, appeared to relish being asked to respond on Friday. Horner suggested Wolff would make a good pantomime villain.
« I was quite flattered actually, being called the protagonist, if you look at what the definition of that means, » Horner said ahead of Sunday’s Mexican Grand Prix.
« I think you also need an antagonist to have a protagonist and one could say perhaps Toto fills that role pretty well. If it were a pantomime, perhaps the pantomime dame role might suit him. »
Horner added: « As far as we’re concerned, it’s 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. »
Horner also criticised Wolff’s opinion that either Verstappen or Hamilton would take the other driver out to win the title.
« I was disappointed to read the comments that that was being condoned, » Horner said.
« I think that we want a really fair fight between now and the end of the championship and any driver would want to win the championship on track. We’re a team of racers and 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 already.
« I think what we saw in Austin was a great fight between two drivers very much at the top of their game and [with] a few more races like Austin between now and the end of the year, I think the biggest winner will be Formula One. Nobody wants to see a championship decided in the gravel trap. »