Christian Horner accuses Mercedes boss Toto Wolff of being interested in "self-gain"

F1 Grand Prix of Abu Dhabi - Final Practice
F1 Grand Prix of Abu Dhabi - Final Practice

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff has been accused of looking after only his self-gain instead of the sport by Red Bull team principal Christian Horner. The latest source of skirmish between the two leaders comes from the Austrian team's critical takedown of the 2026 F1 regulations.

The new set of regulations is set to feature quite a few changes in terms of chassis as well as power unit. As compared to only a 20% dependence on electric power, the 2026 F1 regulations will have a 50% share. The other 50% will come from the Internal Combustion Engine.

Christian Horner had raised the alarm over these regulations during the race weekend in Austria. Refuting Horner's claims, Toto Wolff commented that Red Bull might just be frightened because it is a new endeavor for the team when it comes to developing its own power unit.

The Red Bull has taken umbrage to these claims and accused Wolff of catering to his own interests instead of the sport. Horner told

“Unfortunately, that's typically Toto, where he's just focused on self-performance. My interest is actually about the sport rather than self-gain.
“It is still way too early to say who's going to have a competitive or uncompetitive engine in 2026. For me, the most important thing is, from a sports point of view, that we all have a collective responsibility to work with the FIA and the commercial rights holder, to ensure that the product is as good as it can be. Otherwise, we've all failed.”

What had Mercedes boss Toto Wolff commented about the 2026 F1 regulations?

Toto Wolff had claimed that Red Bull's new engine programme might have left the team frightened, and hence it was looking to find some leeway. When questioned about Christian Horner's comments at the pre-race conference in Austria, the Mercedes boss said:

“I think what frightens him more maybe is that his engine programme is not coming along, and then maybe he wants to kill it [the rules] that way. So, you always have to question what's the real motivation to say something like that.”

Interestingly, both Red Bull and Mercedes have already entered into a sparring match for the 2026 F1 regulations. Even Max Verstappen had weighed in on the debate in Austria and claimed that the regulations needed to be worked on.

This debate has opened up conversations on whether the next set of regulations could prove to be Red Bull's kryptonite after their dominance in the 2023 season so far.

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Edited by Anantaajith Raghuraman
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