Horner labels Wolff the 'pantomime dame' as F1 team bosses jibe

Red Bull Formula 1 team principal Christian Horner has laughed off the sparring match with his opposite number Toto Wolff, calling it “all noise”. 
Christian Horner (GBR) Red Bull Racing Team Principal.
Christian Horner (GBR) Red Bull Racing Team Principal.
© xpbimages.com

Horner and Mercedes boss Wolff have exchanged barbs in the media throughout the 2021 season amid the intense nature of the two team’s battle for the F1 world championship, and their drivers’ respective title duel. 

In an interview with the Daily Mail published ahead of this weekend’s Mexico City Grand Prix, Wolff spoke out about his off-track rivalry with Horner, describing the Red Bull chief as a “protagonist in a pantomime”

Horner expressed disappointment at Wolff’s insinuation that Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen’s title fight could be decided by a deliberate collision as he hit back at his rival boss on Friday, calling Wolff a “pantomime dame”. 

“I was quite flattered actually,” Horner laughed when asked about Wolff’s comments. “Getting called a protagonist, if you look at what the definition of that means, I think you also need an antagonist to have a protagonist. 

“One could say that perhaps Toto fulfils that role pretty well - or if it were a pantomime then the pantomime dame role might suit him.” 

But Horner downplayed his feud with Wolff as being part and parcel of F1. 

“As far as we are 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,” he added. 

“Toto likes to throw in a comment here or there and that’s part of the needle, that’s part of the sport.

“He’s got a lot at stake, he’s going for an eighth world championship with his driver, we’re going for a first with Max and to add to the titles that we’ve already won.

“Formula 1’s a competition. As the pressure builds you see people react to pressure in different ways and we’re at the business end of that championship now so you can feel the tension and that will only grow the longer this goes on.

“If Toto wants to make a comment or two, I’m fine with that. It’s pantomime season coming up anyway, so it is what it is.”

Toto Wolff (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 Shareholder and Executive Director.
Toto Wolff (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 Shareholder and Executive Director.
© xpbimages.com

And Horner insisted he has “no issue” with Wolff on a personal level when asked if there was mutual respect between the pair. 

“I think he’s done a great job in a team that he inherited and of course there is respect,” Horner said. “Mercedes are a phenomenal team, they’ve achieved great things and there is of course a respect between the two teams.

“But it’s a competition. If we roll over and accept that Mercedes win every race it’s pretty boring and why do we turn up?

“We have been fighting to get into this position to take the fight to Mercedes for seven long seasons now and of course we got ourselves into a competitive position and we want to make sure that we do our very best to convert this between now and the end of the year.

“It will be by far our biggest achievement in Formula 1 if we manage to do that in either of the championships.”

Speaking later on Friday in Mexico, Wolff said the pair’s entertaining quarrels had been exacerbated by the media’s attempts to spin the narrative and create drama. 

“These things are spun out of context sometimes but isn’t that great for Formula 1?,” Wolff said. “It’s racing and soap.” 

He continued: “We are very different people. I’m very much trying to concentrate on what is important and not thinking too much about how I’m perceived in the outside world, and maybe that makes us different. 

"But I very much respect his work as a team manager and he’s adding to the show.” 

Read More