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‘No relationship’ – Horner ignites row with Wolff at tense F1 Qatar press conference & questions ‘rear wing’ score marks

PANTO season came early in Doha after Red Bull boss Christian Horner and Merc boss Toto Wolff bickered like a pair of ugly sisters.

It came after a FIVE DAY rendition of ‘oh yes he did..’ ended with the FIA deciding that ‘oh, not he didn’t’ with regards to Max Verstappen illegally forcing Lewis Hamilton off track in Brazil.

Red Bull boss has declared he has ‘no relationship’ with Mercedes counterpart Toto Wolff
Wolff will be hoping Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas impress in Sunday’s Qatar Grand Prix

Mercedes’ request for a right to review was turned down by the stewards as the Qatar GP turned into a right old carry on.

And it sparked a bitter fall out between Horner and Wolff on stage, with the Red Bull chief taunting his rival.

When quizzed about their relationship, Horner said: “There is no relationship.

“This is the first time they have been challenged and it is interesting to see how people react when they are challenged.

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“Relationships and respect are different things, there is respect for everything Mercedes have done, everything Lewis Hamilton has done.

“I don’t need to go to dinner with Toto, I don’t need to kiss his a***. It is a competition, it is great that we are in this position and fighting.

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“Toto and I are very different characters and operate in different ways.

“Am going to be spending Christmas with Toto? Probably not…Unless you’re in panto this year, I might take the kids!

“From my perspective it is F1, you don’t have to be best mates with your opponents. How can you be?

“It would be dishonest in many respects to fake a facade when you’re competing against your rivals.”

Horner’s barb was epic knock-about fun but there are serious tensions below this classic Punch and Judy show.

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And with it comes the threat of more protests and appeals lobbied at F1’s sluggish stewards that threaten the outcome of this title race.

Wolff added: “We don’t want to end up after Saudi Arabia or Abu Dhabi, wherever it may end and then going to the stewards’ rooms or because one the teams felt it wasn’t treated rightly.

“Now is the time in this very championship to discuss the rules.

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“Olympic boxing went to pro boxing and is now MMA, but that is okay, we are in the ring now trying to do the best job possible.

“Elbows are allowed now because the rules say so and the gloves are off.”

And in yet more fighting talk, Horner has revealed his team would launch a protest about the legality of their opponent’s car, centering on their flexible rear wing, which failed an FIA test in Sao Paulo.

Horner added: “Would I protest? Yeah, absolutely. If we believe the car is not in compliance, we will protest.

“The straight line speeds that we’ve seen in Mexico and in Brazil, I mean, I think everybody could see Brazil was not a normal situation.

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“And yes, a new engine we know with Mercedes comes with increased performance.

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“But when you have a 27 kilometre [per hour] difference, and you see marks on rear end plates that have been marked up from wings that have been flexing.

“It’s very clear to us what has been going on. So, of course, that’s why it’s down the FIA to make sure that the cars are in compliance.

“If they’re not, you protest if you believe that a competitor isn’t complying with the rules.”

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