Toto Wolff hopes F1 “sets the compass right” over Christian Horner controversy

Photo Credit: Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team
Spread the love

The Bahrain Grand Prix not only marked the beginning of the 2024 Formula 1 season but also thrust the sport into a storm of controversy surrounding Red Bull Team Principal, Christian Horner.

In his post-race media session, Mercedes Team Principal Toto Wolff addressed the ongoing situation as he was quizzed a number of times, emphasizing the need for transparency and the importance of the governing body’s intervention. Amidst the competitive spirit on the track, the off-track drama has taken center stage, raising questions about Formula 1’s commitment to inclusivity and transparency.

In response to a question about his earlier call for transparency from Red Bull in the FIA Press Conference last Thursday, Toto Wolff expressed his reluctance to delve deeper into the controversy.

He stated, “I think, in my opinion, it’s very difficult from where we sit to really say more than I said before. This is a decision made with Red Bull for the governing body, and I don’t think for another team, if you ask my personal measures, obviously. But we should talk about the racing today.”

Photo Credit: Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team

Wolff expressed caution in his response saying, “Like I said before, I think the moment I start to continue to question how this is being handled, I’m probably not doing any good to the whole issue because then it could be seen as this is just about a power fight within F1. That’s why I think it’s not in the team’s hands,” when questioned about the potential damage to the sport this controversy might have caused. 

As the discussion shifted towards the broader implications for Formula 1’s image and values, Wolff acknowledged the critical nature of the situation. He noted, “I think the handling of the situation is very critical for Formula 1. It’s not in the hands of competitors to have any action.

“We should look at ourselves in terms of what is it we can do in order to optimise on all of these topics, equality and diversity. That’s what we’re doing, and I’m very proud that we’re at the forefront of that.”

Addressing the question about exerting influence as a group of teams, Wolff emphasised the need to avoid reducing the issue to an intra-team battle. He explained, “As a team, if we go beyond what we’ve said, it looks like it is a battle between competitors in Formula 1. And I don’t want to reduce that topic to this level. It is a much wider issue that deserves more space. And I don’t want to harm the topic by making it an intra-team battle. Because it is not.”

Wolff concluded with his hope for the governing body to set the ‘compass right’, stating that he does not want to get into a game of Mercedes or McLaren (Zak Brown) talking about Horner, “It’s a much bigger topic. I don’t want to diminish the whole situation by making it seem like the Mercedes or the McLaren guy talks about the Red Bull guy. I think we’ll see where it goes in the next days. And I very much hope that the governing body, the sanctioning body, the commercial rights holders set the compass right.”