Horner and Wolff squared off in a tense press conference as the F1 title battle between Red Bull and Mercedes spilled off the track on Friday ahead of this weekend’s inaugural Qatar Grand Prix. 

F1’s top two team bosses were grilled on a number of topics including Mercedes’ right of review request - which was rejected as the press conference took place - and the legality of the W12. 

Asked how the intensifying title fight and off-track bickering has impacted their relationship, Horner retorted: "There is no relationship, there's a competition. 

"And I think it was interesting to hear Toto's views after the sprint race last week on his team radio.

"Look, we're going to push the maximum. We worked hard to get into this position. I think it's the first time they've been challenged.

"It's interesting to see how people react under pressure, how they react when they're challenged. It's by far the most intense political title fight we've been evolved in in our time in this sport.”

When pressed on whether he has respect for Wolff, Horner confirmed he did but said that does not mean the pair have to share niceties. 

"I think relationship and respect are two different things,” he said. 

"Of course there's respect for everything Mercedes has done and there's respect for everything Lewis Hamilton has done, but I don't need to go to dinner with Toto or kiss his arse or anything like that. 

“There's a few other team principals that might but from my perspective it's a competition.

"I think it's great that we're in this position and fighting for the world championships, and it's a first time in seven years they've been challenged, so that intensifies it and I think the sport is a big winner out of this. 

“I just hope we have a hard and fair fight between now and the end of the season.”

Meanwhile, Wolff admitted the gloves have now well and truly come off in the battle between Mercedes and Red Bull, with Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton separated by just 14 points with three rounds remaining. 

"There are many great people working in Red Bull and obviously many great people working at Mercedes and it is a hell of a fight,” he said. 

"There is a respect for the capability Red Bull has, definitely. And it's clear that this is tough. It's the world championship of the highest category in motor racing and what started as Olympic boxing went to pro boxing and is now an MMA [fight], but that's OK.

"We are in the fight there trying to do the best job possible, elbows out now because the rules say so, and gloves are off. Nothing else is to be expected."