Horner riled Wolff: “Self-doubt - exposed, in the s*** if Hamilton retires”

Christian Horner claimed Mercedes would be “exposed” if Lewis Hamilton retired, and said he saw “cracks” in Toto Wolff last season.
Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 in the FIA Press Conference. Formula 1 Testing, Sakhir, Bahrain, Day Three.
Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 in the FIA Press Conference. …

The Red Bull team principal was speaking to Netflix’s Drive To Survive in reaction to the explosive meeting where he rowed with the Mercedes boss.

Wolff demanded new rules to protect against porpoising at last year’s F1 Canadian Grand Prix but Horner shot back by insisting it was a problem for Mercedes to fix themselves, in a dynamic scene captured by the cameras.

Remote video URL

Horner was also filmed inside the paddock discussing Hamilton’s future: “If he did retire? Who on earth would they take? 

“That would drop them really in the s*** if he decides to retire.”

Horner then said in a Netflix interview: “What are Toto’s options if Lewis were to retire? It leaves them pretty exposed.”

Hamilton, 38, is expected to pen a new Mercedes contract until at least the end of 2024.

Horner said about Wolff’s anger in the team principals’ meeting: “He got himself pretty wound up. It’s a horrible feeling to suddenly only be a part of the scenery, and not competing.

“And that takes an adjustment. It can cause self-doubt, and emotions that haven’t been prevalent. You start to see cracks.”

Toto Wolff (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 Shareholder and Executive Director. Formula 1 Testing, Sakhir, Bahrain, Day Two.-
Toto Wolff (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 Shareholder and Executive Director…

Then-Ferrari boss Mattia Binotto added about Wolff with a cryptic comment: “Maybe he was under pressure for their performance at the time. Maybe he was under pressure because he promised something to someone. I don’t know.”

Mercedes endured a horrible 2022, winning just one race via George Russell, and never gave Hamilton the machinery to challenge Max Verstappen who, months earlier, controversially pipped him at the 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

Horner said about Mercedes’ struggles: “Each team, you could see, were making progress. But Mercedes were making a mess.

“It is a different landscape for Toto that he isn’t used to, since he came into F1, where suddenly he’s on the back foot.

“Let’s not forget Mercedes annihilated the opposition. Destroyed everybody.” 

Horner then burst out laughing: “Finally, you start to see problems. Everybody is quite enjoying it!”

Horner and Wolff and their respective teams with renew their rivalry in 2023 when the season begins next week at the F1 Bahrain Grand Prix.

Read More