Mercedes boss Toto Wolff’s cold response to Christain Horner's 'tax evader' comment


Mercedes have been the dominant team in F1 recent years, with Hamilton and Nico Rosberg before him both experiencing success.

But Red Bull were back with a bang last year, claiming driver’s title glory at the final race of the calendar in Abu Dhabi in controversial circumstances.

Over the past year or so, the rivalry between Wolff and Horner has intensified.

And while the Red Bull chief recently insisted he had no issue with his Mercedes counterpart, he fired a dig at Wolff by labelling him a ‘tax evader’.

“We are very different,” Horner said in a recent interview with the Daily Mail.

“When I’m not on the track, I’m in the factory. I don’t live like a tax evader in Monaco who runs his team from a distance.

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“I’m hands on. My schedule is full from the moment I arrive to the moment I leave, busy with things within the team. I have an open door policy.

“I grew up in sports. I was a race car driver focused on running a team. I am a racer at heart.

“Toto has a very different background. He has a financial background and is very driven by what the balance sheet says.

“Results dictate that performance.”

Horner did also stress he and Wolff have an amicable relationship, despite their previous war of words suggesting otherwise.

“My relationship with Toto is… you know, it’s professional,” Horner added.

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“He’s not the kind of guy I go out to dinner with or spend private time with, but I respect what he’s done and what he’s accomplished.”

“Of course, as far as I’m concerned, 2021 is done.

“It’s all about 2022 now. Will he be the main opponent this year? I have no idea.

“Do I like him? I have no personal issues with Toto.

“He’s the kind of guy who bites pretty easily, so it’s always nice to turn him on a bit. But he’s not a bad guy, that’s for sure.”

Now, Wolff has responded.

And he’s kept his cool by choosing to go the cold route, insisting he’s neither annoyed by Horner’s comments or entertained by them either.

“Neither one,” the Austrian told Bild.

“His statements no longer trigger any emotions in me because it shoots in all directions.”

Meanwhile, with the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix edging closer, Wolff has opened up on potential changes to Mercedes’ vehicles.

Trackside engineer Andrew Shovlin had suggested the Silver Arrows would make some adjustments by saying: “There’s bouncing, the balance is poor, there is a lack of low-speed grip, we’re struggling on traction, the drivability could be better, the tyre warm-up is not good enough, the car is a bit on the heavy side.

“There’s a lot to improve which gives us some encouragement.

“I think we’ll get some easy gains, there’s some low-hanging fruit and what we’re hoping is that we can get those in the next race or two.

“The factory are primed to bring everything they can in the next few days.

“If we’ve got something useful to bring to Jeddah, we’ll make sure we get it on the car.”

But Wolff has now ruled out adjustments, saying: “We need to understand where we’re lacking in performance.

“The sooner we recognise this, the faster we will be. This is physics – and not mysticism. One issue that is definitely on our minds is speed on the long straights.

“But I don’t expect any enlightening insights from the second race in Saudi Arabia.”


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