Toto Wolff and Christian Horner in agreement on Abu Dhabi Grand Prix controversy

Toto Wolff and Christian Horner have finally found consensus among their beliefs about the events of last season’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix – they are both done talking about it.

With no Formula 1 action in the off-season to take the minds of fans and pundits away from the subject, the 2021 finale has continued to be a topic of intense debate over the past two months.

Mercedes were left by the way Lewis Hamilton lost out on the title, and felt race director Michael Masi broke some rules in his operation of the safety car in the final few laps of the race.

Naturally, as their driver Max Verstappen benefitted and won the title, Red Bull were pleased with how things have turned out and team principal Horner has regularly said he felt the outcome was fair.

Toto Wolff insists he is looking to the future
Toto Wolff insists he is looking to the future

His Mercedes counterpart Wolff has been a vocal critic of what happened and was heard over team radio during the final lap of the race telling Masi that “this isn’t right”.

But now, the Austrian has spoken of a need to move past the whole sorry saga, with both team bosses finally finding some common ground on the subject.

“Maybe we have different opinions, but that’s behind us now,” Horner said as they spoke side-by-side at a press conference in Barcelona, where the F1 paddock is currently in pre-season testing.

“We saw a great battle last year from the first race to the last. That has been hugely important for the rise in popularity of Formula 1.”

His words were echoed by Wolff: “I agree with Christian that we need to move on.

“There has been so much talk about Abu Dhabi that it came to a point that it is really damaging for all of us stakeholders of Formula 1 and we have closed the chapter and moved on.

Toto Wolff and Christian Horner spoke together at a press conference in Barcelona
Toto Wolff and Christian Horner spoke together at a press conference in Barcelona

“Now it is about 2022. The game is on again, all points are [reset] to zero and [there are] new opportunities and new risks.”

On the first day of the Barcelona shakedown on Wednesday, defending champion Verstappen was the busiest driver as he put in 147 laps of the Circuit de Catalunya.

His fastest time was only good enough for ninth place in the standings, while Mercedes drivers Hamilton and George Russell set the fifth and fourth fastest times respectively.

Ferrari pair Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz were second and third, while the fastest time set by anyone came from the McLaren driven by Lando Norris.

However, those results cannot be used as a reliable reflection of what the balance of power might be on the grid when the competitive action begins, as teams will have been trialling different setups and tyre compounds.

The shakedown continues for the next two days, with another testing period planned in Sakhir next month before the season begins at the Bahrain Grand Prix on the weekend of March 18-20.

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