Subscribe

Sign up for free

  • Get quick access to your favorite articles

  • Manage alerts on breaking news and favorite drivers

  • Make your voice heard with article commenting.

Motorsport prime

Discover premium content
Subscribe

Edition

Global Global
Formula 1 Austrian GP

Horner accuses Wolff of distraction tactics over Verstappen F1 talk

Red Bull and Mercedes team principals are at loggerheads once again

Christian Horner, Team Principal, Red Bull Racing, Toto Wolff, Team Principal and CEO, Mercedes AMG

Red Bull boss Christian Horner has accused Toto Wolff's pursuit of Max Verstappen as a "distraction tactic" to cover up Mercedes' on-track problems.

Horner's comments came after world champion Verstappen said that he would remain with Red Bull next season.

Verstappen has been an optimistic target for Wolff as a replacement for Ferrari-bound Hamilton.

Horner made a further dig at Wolff by pointing out the driver market has been turned on its head by Hamilton quitting Mercedes, despite him knowing "all the information about the engines and 2026 regulations".

Horner said: "A lot of noise has been made about him going elsewhere and sometimes one just thinks that that's a distraction tactic that's just thrown in.

"You have to question what are the motives behind that? The driver that's created all the movement in the market had all the information about the engines and 2026 regulations and so on and chose to leave and left a vacancy at Mercedes.

"Which is why there has now been a little bit of speculation as to who will fill that seat, but it won't be Max Verstappen."

Christian Horner, Team Principal, Red Bull Racing, in the Team Principals Press Conference

Christian Horner, Team Principal, Red Bull Racing, in the Team Principals Press Conference

Photo by: Mark Sutton

During the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, Jos Verstappen had insinuated that Verstappen would quit the team should Horner remain in charge, leading Wolff to remark that "no team up and down the grid who wouldn't do handstands to have him in the car".

However, despite Verstappen's public commitment to Red Bull here in Austria on Thursday, Wolff suggested his chances of signing him are not dead.

Wolff was told about Verstappen's comment, to which he replied, "I don't think he clearly said yes".

When asked by Motorsport.com why Wolff is refusing to give up hope of signing the F1 world champion, Horner, who has had a long-standing frosty relationship with the Mercedes chief, joked that maybe he could sign his dad instead.

Horner added: "I thought Max was pretty resolute in what he said in this press conference. He's always been absolutely consistent with that with the team.

"So yeah, why Toto... I think it's purely a tactic of distraction. Of course, if he does want a Verstappen for next year, then I guess Jos is potentially available."

Meanwhile, speaking about his delight at seeing his driver pledge next season to the team, Horner said: "It only reaffirms everything that we already know. Max is an important part of our team.

"He's had all of his victories and podiums in Red Bull Racing cars, his three world championships so far.

"He's a crucial member of the team. He enjoys being part of the team. He's got a tremendous group around him. And, we know what the future looks like."

Read Also:

Be part of Motorsport community

Join the conversation
Previous article Horner denies meddling after Jos Verstappen accusations
Next article F1 Austrian GP: Verstappen pips Norris by 0.093s to grab sprint pole

Top Comments

Sign up for free

  • Get quick access to your favorite articles

  • Manage alerts on breaking news and favorite drivers

  • Make your voice heard with article commenting.

Motorsport prime

Discover premium content
Subscribe

Edition

Global Global