Secret friends? Horner explains viral photo with F1 rival Wolff

F1 counterparts Christian Horner and Toto Wolff have explained their viral photo from the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. 
Secret friends? Horner explains viral photo with F1 rival Wolff

The Red Bull and Mercedes team bosses famously don’t usually see eye-to-eye amid a bitter rivalry between their teams and drivers, leading to several off-track clashes that have sparked regular war of words. 

But Horner and Wolff appeared to (briefly, at least) put aside their differences when they shared a rare moment in the Yas Marina paddock following last month’s season finale in Abu Dhabi. 

A photo of the pair smiling and laughing together as they posed for the camera was captured and soon went viral on social media. 

1996 world champion Damon Hill revealed there had been a genuinely nice moment between the duo, having witnessed Wolff and Horner speaking outside of the Red Bull hospitality before the photo was taken. 

The picture prompted Horner to be asked whether he and Wolff are secretly friends in an interview with Sky Sports News on Wednesday. 

“There has to be respect at the end of the day and what the Mercedes team achieved during their dominant period was phenomenal and they still are a fantastically strong team,” the Red Bull chief said. 

“We’ve enjoyed a great year and we haven’t seen much of Mercedes this year, so it was just a moment at the end of the season. But there has to be respect at the end of the day. The racing needs to be contained to being on the track.”

But when asked if he would like to see a stronger Mercedes next season, Horner quickly answered with a smirk: “Not really.” 

Speaking to Austrian publication OE24, Wolff shed some light on how the photo came about.  

"That was on the way out of the paddock,” he said. “There was a nice group around Mark Mateschitz, his mother and a few people I know well. 

“I joined them and had a nice chat with Geri [Halliwell, Horner's wife] and that's how the photo came about. 

"Friends? The last handshake was maybe in 2021, before the last race. But you have to acknowledge your competitor's achievements. I respect what the Red Bull team has achieved.”

On Wednesday, Horner led a chorus of unified responses from F1 teams insisting they had not complained to the FIA about the conduct of Wolff and his wife Susie amid allegations of a conflict of interest reportedly involving the pair. 

Read More