Wolff and Horner aim to move on from 'brutal' 2021 rivalry

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Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff and his Red Bull counterpart Christian Horner have said they want a clean start this season after hostilities boiled over between the pair in 2021.

The intensity of one of Formula 1's tightest championship battles of all time meant that the pair were at each other's throats as the season reached its controversial climax in Abu Dhabi last December.

"It's to be expected," said Wolff. "It got fierce at times and brutal, but there's a lot at stake. It's a Formula 1 world championship and there's the fighting on track, and the fighting off track for advantages."

But both men indicated that they wanted to reset their relationwhip this year and get back to more a cordial state of affairs between both teams in 2022.

"We need to move on," acknowledged Wolff. "There's been so much talk about Abu Dhabi that it came to a point that it is really damaging for all of us stakeholders of F1, and we've closed the chapter and moved on.

"Now it's about 2022," he stated. "The game is on again, all points [are back] to zero, and new opportunity and new risk."

While Horner obviously views the outcome of 2021 somewhat differently to Wolff, he agreed that it was time ot put the bad blood that build up last season behind them once and for all.

“I think that maybe we share differences of opinion over Abu Dhabi," Horner said. "But that's all done and dusted, and all focus is very much now on 2022.

"What you did see last year was a fantastic competition from the first race to the last race," he continued. "I think that's been a key part of Formula 1's revival in popularity.

"Certainly we hope that there's going to be an equally exciting year - although ideally a little less exciting at times!"

And Horner pointed out that the battle was by no means certain to be limited to Mercedes and Red Bull duking it out for supremacy, with the new rules and regulations opening the door for other teams to join the title battle.

“I think there could be some other competitors joining that battle," he agreed. "Particularly with a clean sheet of paper, with these brand new cars, it's a complete reset.

“It's arguably the biggest regulation change in the last 40 years.

"But I'm sure the intensity of rivalry between the teams and the drivers will be as pertinent as ever.”

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