Horner: 'Very easy' to pull Wolff's chain but rivalry is not 'personal'

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While "very easy to pull his chain", Christian Horner says his rivalry with Toto Wolff is not "personal".

Tensions between the respective bosses at Red Bull and Mercedes have almost been as high as those between Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen since their battle in 2021.

Even during last season, when the two teams were further apart on track, Horner and Wolff had some flashpoints, particularly around measures to combat porpoising and suggestions some teams were breaching the floor regulations.

But asked about their rivalry, Horner insists it is merely in the spirit of competition.

“It’s not personal in any way!” the Red Bull chief told Sky Sports.

“Toto is Toto. He’s done a phenomenal job with Mercedes. He’s obviously come into the sport from a very different background to me, he’s very much from a financial background.

“It’s very easy to pull his chain, and you can see it. Sometimes it affects him. So of course, when you’re competing, and last year (2021) was so intense and of course, it was the first time he’d ever been in that situation, it’s always interesting to see how people react.

“And when they’re smashing headphones and so on, you can see that you got to them.”

Wolff also wasn't shy to criticise some of his fellow team bosses, potentially including Horner, suggesting they are too narrow-sighted in their approach.

“There are many now in our sport that are just one-trick ponies that run teams very well, there’s no two ways about it, but I think you need to have an ulterior focus in what you do,” the Austrian said, speaking to Square Mile. 

“I believe that you can only do well when you’re able to put your own role, your own team, and the sport into the perspective of the wider world.

“I think that my 20-year background in finance has helped me to not only develop myself but also shape the team into the commercial operation that it is today. But I’m still learning. I’m 49 plus one, and I wonder where that trajectory takes me in the future.”