Christian Horner and other senior Red Bull figures hold talks amid tensions

Christian Horner and other senior Red Bull hold talks amid tensions

Christian Horner and other key Red Bull figures like Helmut Marko and Jos Verstappen are said to have held preliminary talks about restoring the reins of the team after a turbulent few weeks.

This comes after the female Red Bull Racing employee who accused F1 team principal Christian Horner of ‘inappropriate behaviour’ was suspended by the company.

She also filed a complaint with the FIA’s ethics committee weeks after Horner was cleared of any misconduct following a three-week investigation by an independent lawyer.

The defending F1 world champions are now facing internal conflict as a result of Horner’s alleged control-wielding antics against both the team’s longtime motorsport advisor Helmut Marko, and Max Verstappen’s father, Jos.

The situation escalated when Jos said that Red Bull would ‘explode’ if Horner continued in his role. Verstappen Jr. later stated that he could quit the team if Marko was demoted, with Mercedes possibly standing by to secure his services.

A truce between the main Red Bull factions has, however, been negotiated in the lead-up to this weekend’s Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne.

Furthermore, it has been reported that Horner now has the complete support of the Austrian board, which includes directors Franz Watzlawick and Oliver Mintzlaff. Additionally, the Red Bull team principal was joined by Thai majority owner Chalerm Yoodivhya at the Bahrain Grand Prix to show his support.

In the long term, it remains to be seen if Verstappen’s exit from Red Bull is prompted by the overwhelming support for Horner.

The Dutchman easily won the first two races of the season as he seeks to capture a fourth championship in a row this year. He currently has a deal with Red Bull that will see him through the end of 2028 and is estimated to be worth £50 million annually.

See also  Mark Webber reveals Oscar Piastri was initially reluctant to join McLaren

However, Verstappen stressed last week in Saudi Arabia that Marko’s position may have an impact on his future with the team.

“If such an important pillar falls away, it is not good for my situation and I have told the team that,” Verstappen said. “He is an important part in my decision-making for the future.

“For me, Helmut has to stay. I have a lot of respect for him, and what we have achieved together. It goes very far.

“He has built this team together with Dietrich [Mateschitz] from day one. And he’s always been very loyal to the team, to everyone within the team, to make sure that everyone would keep their positions already from back in the day.

“I think it’s also very important, of course, that you give the man a lot of respect for what he has done. And that comes back also to loyalty, you know, and integrity.

“So, yeah, for sure, it’s important that he stays part of the team, also for me.”

Despite the reported disclosure of some sexually suggestive WhatsApp communications between Horner and the female colleague, Horner’s wife Geri Halliwell supported her husband at the season’s first two races in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia.

Following a tense press conference in Jeddah, the Red Bull F1 chief personally implored everyone to put an end to the situation, saying, “The intrusion on my family is enough.”

Horner is anticipated to be at the Austarlian Grand Prix this weekend as Red Bull attempts to increase their winning streak to ten races.

Leave a Reply