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Father of Max Verstappen: Red Bull could be ‘torn apart’ if Horner stays


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Fractures within Red Bull Racing appear to have deepened after Max Verstappen’s father Jos warned the team “risks being torn apart” if Christian Horner remains in charge amid ongoing controversy surrounding of the team director.

Horner stays in the spotlight after a hectic few days in Bahrain to start the new Formula 1 season. Although Verstappen claimed his eighth consecutive Grand Prix victory With a dominant display, beating teammate Sergio Pérez by more than 20 seconds, his father spoke publicly about the divisions within the team as the situation remains the biggest story in the sport.

The situation became public in early February when Red Bull GmbH, the parent company of Red Bull Racing, announced that it had opened an investigation into allegations of inappropriate behavior made against Horner, which it said it took “extremely seriously.”

On Wednesday, Red Bull announced that the investigation, led by an external party, had led to the dismissal of the grievance, emphasizing that the complainant had the right to appeal. The next day, a cache of messages allegedly took place between Horner and the complainant was leaked anonymously to a high rank F1 officials and international media. Athleticismwho received the leaked email directly, was unable to verify its contents and Horner repeatedly declined to comment on the messages.

In a interview with the Daily Mail, Jos Verstappen warned: “There are tensions here while (Horner) remains in position. The team risks tearing itself apart. Things cannot continue like this.

“It’s going to explode. He plays the victim when he is the one causing the problems.

Red Bull Racing team principal Christian Horner (2R) with his wife British singer Geri Halliwell (R) and Thai businessman Chalerm Yoovidhya (C) and his wife Daranee Yoovidhya (L) attend the podium ceremony of the Bahrain Formula 1 Grand Prix at the Bahrain International Circuit in Sakhir on March 2, 2024. (Photo by ANDREJ ISAKOVIC / AFP)

Chalerm Yoovidhya (centre), whose family owns a 51% stake in Red Bull, joined Christian Horner (second right) and his wife Geri Halliwell-Horner (right) for the Bahrain Grand Prix podium ceremony . (ANDRÉJ ISAKOVIC / AFP)

Jos Verstappen raced in F1 between 1994 and 2003 and played a central role in his son’s career and success, despite having no formal role within the team. He made similar comments about the controversy in a separate interview with Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf, also published Saturday evening after the race.

Asked about Verstappen’s comments, a Red Bull spokesperson said: “There are no problems here, the team is united and we are focused on the race.”

Tensions rise

Jos Verstappen’s comments publicly pit the father of the team’s star driver against his team principal.

He attends the vast majority of his son’s races. Although he is not an employee of Red Bull Racing, his proximity to Max means that he is considered to hold a certain degree of influence. On Thursday, he was seen wearing a Red Bull team jacket while watching the second free practice session in Bahrain, during which the anonymous email was circulated.

After the race, Horner said he was “not going to comment on the motivations, whoever the people may be,” for the leak.

Jos denied to the Daily Mail and De Telegraaf any involvement in the leak, telling the Daily Mail: “It wouldn’t make any sense. Why should I do that when Max is doing so well here?

Friction within the team has increased since the death of Red Bull co-founder Dietrich Mateschitz in October 2022. Mateschitz was the undisputed leader of the company’s F1 efforts, and his absence led to increased tensions between senior members of the team. business.

After the race, Horner said he was “absolutely” confident he would remain at the helm of the team and would “focus on the season ahead and the races we have coming up” after the race. completion of the investigation process.

“The grievance raised was dismissed,” Horner said. “End of. Pass.”

He said it had been “not pleasant, the attention unwanted”, but spoke of the “enormous support” he felt from within the team and the Red Bull business as a whole.

On the grid before the race, Horner spoke with Chalerm Yoovidhya, the son of Red Bull’s co-founder, whose family owns a 51% stake in Red Bull GmbH. Horner and his wife, Geri Halliwell-Horner, were joined by Yoovidhya and his wife to watch the podium celebrations after Max Verstappen’s victory. Jos stood a few rows behind them during the ceremony.

Max Verstappen maintained throughout the investigation into Horner that he was fully focused on what was happening on the track and that the situation did not distract him from his preparations for the new season.

Asked by Athleticism After taking pole position on Friday on whether he still had full confidence in Horner’s leadership, Verstappen said: “When I look at the way Christian operates within the team, he has been a team leader amazing.

“So absolutely, from a performance standpoint, you can’t even question that.” Verstappen said he had spoken to Horner “a lot” and that the Red Bull team principal was “fully committed to the team”.

His father’s comments will nevertheless raise further questions about the dynamic with Horner ahead of the second round of the season in Saudi Arabia in a few days.

Max is under contract at Red Bull until 2028 after signing one of the longest and most lucrative contracts in F1 history following his maiden championship success in 2021.

The nature of the simmering tension at Red Bull led Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff (who called for transparency in the investigation) was asked if there was a chance Verstappen could drive for the team for 2025 replacing Lewis Hamilton.

Wolff said: “A driver will always choose the fastest car. That’s basically what it’s about. At the moment Red Bull is the fastest car, so in my opinion that will always be the priority.

(Main photo of Max Verstappen with his father Jos Verstappen before the Bahrain GP: Clive Mason/Getty Images)


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