Horner slams ‘typical’ Wolff attitude as “self gain”

So far this season the Red Bull uber dominance on track has meant there have been no contentious flare ups between drivers and teams chasing the Formula One championship. Sergio Perez claimed for a couple of races he was in the hunt for the drivers’ title, though failing to reach the final stages of qualifying at the last four races sees the Mexican’s big claims now fallen silent.

There is potential for some kind of trouble when the FIA declares the results of its cost cap audit of the teams. While originally scheduled to report by the end of June the FIA failed miserably to reach this target last season and is again late in 2023.



More paddock rows over regs

The one area of dispute that has seen Toto Wolff and his arch adversary Christian Horner lock horns is over the FIA’s regulations.

Last year Mercedes were struggling more than the rest with the aerodynamics of their W13 car and a huge row developed between Horner and Wolff at the Canadian Grand Prix.

The only scenario where the FIA can make unilateral changes to their regulations mid season is on the grounds of safety. 

Mercedes driver George Russell and team boss Toto Wolff were laying the ground for an in season rule change from the FIA based on an argument that the drivers’ health and safety was being diminished due to the design regulations making certain teams’ cars bounce or porpoise.



Monster spat in Canada

The monster of a spat between Horner and Wolff was captured by the Netflix cameras at the team principals meeting recording for the Drive to Survive series.

“I hear lots of chit-chat about porpoising, Chinese whispers through the press, emails being sent,” Wolff said to the other nine team principals. 

“I can tell you that all of you are playing a dangerous game.

“If a car ends in the wall because it’s too stiff or it’s bottoming out, you are in the **** and I’m going to come after you.”

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Ferrari boss intervenes

The Ferrari team boss at the time, Mattia Binotto, observed that each of the teams except Mercedes had predominantly solved their porpoising issues by adapting their car design.

Wolff though knew if his team raised the height of their car to reduce the bouncing they would lose a huge chunk of lap time with it.

“No, Toto. Safety is a matter of team responsibility, braking system, suspension,” observed Binotto.

An furious Wolff responded sarcastically: “Each of you has found something to limit the problem, congratulations!”



H0rner explodes at Wolff

Christian Horner cold contain himself no longer and exploded at th eMercedes them boss: “Well, change your car! You’ve got a problem. Change your F****ING car!”

Now another regulation debate threatens to descend into a paddock row principally between Horner and Wolff again.

The World Motorsport Council approved the new F1 power unit regulations for 2026 last August, but as the teams have been developing their test bench prototypes ad simulations Red Bull have identified what may be a significant design flaw.

When questioned at the Austrian grand Prix over the new engine specifications, the Red Bull boss claimed the requirement for 50% hybrid power is “excessive.”

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Problems arise with new engine regs

“You’re looking at pretty much a 30 kilogram swing on cars are already approaching sports car type of weight through the cooling that’s going to be required and so on,” claimed Horner and this despite the FIA claims to support reducing the weight of the 2026 cars.

“We need to pay urgent attention before it’s too late, is to look at the ratio between combustion power and electrical power to ensure that we’re not creating a technical Frankenstein which will require the chassis to compensate to such a degree – with movable aero and to reduce the drag – to such a level that the racing will be affected,” argued the Red Bull team principal.

Christian went on to cite the Red Bull simulation revealed at certain tracks the internal combustion engine would merely serve as a generator for the hybrid systems.

Further the simulations had demonstrated at certain circuits driver would be required to down shift on the straight to create extra charge for the battery, something Horner believes is both ridiculous and flies in the face of wheel to wheel racing.



Horner claims FIA looking at reg tweaks

“So I know the FIA are taking it very seriously, and they’re looking at it very closely as the simulations become more advanced,” concluded Horner who believes the solution would be to reduce the amount of hybrid power from 50 to 45%.

However Toto Wolff derided the comments made by his rival, 

“I think what frightens him more is that maybe his engine programme is not coming along and maybe he wants to kill it that way,” mocked Toto

“You always have to question what is the real motivation to say something like that,” added Wolff implying Red Bull had an ulterior motive for raising the topic.

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Wolff hits back “zero chance”

When questioned whether the FIA may indeed tweak the 2026 power unit specifications, “That’s not going to happen – Zero chance… capital letters… I don’t know why these things are coming up,” retorted the Mercedes boss.

Horner had made the additional observation that given the current weight and power level demands the chassis required to house the new power units would become ‘monsters’ and risk ruining the aerodynamics which facilitates close racing.

Yet Toto dismissed this out of hand as well: “Is it challenging? Our chassis designers are saying ‘Well, how we are going to do this?’. Yeah. Super,” he laughed. “But, zero chance  these regulations are not going to change anymore.



Horner claims F1 is more important

Christian Horner has now responded to the smear made over his intentions when discussing the preliminary simulations hitting back at the boss of the German F1 team claiming he is only “focused on self-performance”.

“Unfortunately that’s typically Toto where he’s just focused on self-performance,” Horner suggested. “My interest is actually about the sport rather than self-gain.

As to the allegation that Red Bull’s engine programme is failing, “it’s still way too early to say who’s going to have a competitive or uncompetitive engine in 2026,” said Horner.

“For me the most important thing is from a sports point of view, that we all have a collective responsibility to work with the FIA and the commercial rights holder to ensure that the product is as good as it can be, otherwise we’ve all failed.”

Hamilton: not happy for “over a year”



Others dragged into row

The row is set to continue and potentially drag in other parties as the Alfa Romeo team boss has already weighed in support of Red Bull’s position and agreeing that rule tweaks may yet be required.

“On the matter of ratio? It is difficult to say, but what Christian said, I agree that we need to have a holistic approach,” agreed Alessandro Alunni Bravi. 

“It is not just a matter of PU, it is a matter of the overall package, the chassis and the engines.”

READ MORE: FIA demand changes to Austrian circuit

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