Australian Grand Prix, Melbourne 23 - 26 March 2017 24.03.2017 - Free Practice 2, Toto Wolff (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 Shareholder and Executive Director and Christian Horner (GBR), Red Bull Racing, Sporting Director PUBLICATIONxNOTxINxUK Australian Grand Prix Melbourne 23 26 March 2017 24 03 2017 Free Practice 2 Toto Wolff ger Mercedes AMG F1 shareholder and Executive Director and Christian Horner GBR Red Bull Racing Sporting Director PUBLICATIONxNOTxINxUK

Red Bull boss Christian Horner ‘broke the bank’ to earn a visit to the Mercedes F1 factory after winning a charity fundraising bidding battle for the privilege during the Autosport Awards evening this past weekend.

Grand Prix TrustIt took a whopping £4,000 ($5,400) for Horner to claim the honour with proceeds from the auction going to the Grand Prix Trust.

The team boss joked that he would take as many people as possible on the jaunt behind ‘enemy lines’ including, “Adrian [Newey], myself, Pierre Waché and probably Paul Field, our Director of Production. It’ll be interesting to go and see how they’re spending their budget cap…”

It will not be Horner’s first visit to the Mercedes factory, he revealed: “David Coulthard invited us, Martin Whitmarsh was there. I went with Adrian; he obviously knew his way around and everywhere he wanted to go we weren’t allowed!

“I think we saw the marketing and electronics departments and had a very nice lunch, and that was about it!” recalled Horner, who concluded by insisting the money was well spent, for a “great cause” and with that spirit in mind.

For over three decades the Grand Prix Trust has provided help and advice to Formula 1’s trackside and factory-based team personnel, along with everybody directly involved in our great global sport, to help put their lives back on track when things go wrong.

In recent years they broadened this support to the wider F1 community, extending to all employees (including their immediate families) who work or have worked for companies in the F1 supply chain for two or more years.

Horner and his Mercedes rival Toto Wolff gained notoriety last season as the title rivalry between Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen spilt off track, with their barbs and soundbites making headlines all year long.

It will be interesting to see how Mercedes will receive Horner and their Red Bull guests for the tour of Brackley. Watch this space!