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Jos Verstappen: Red Bull in danger of being torn apart if Horner remains

Red Bull are in danger of being “torn apart” if Christian Horner remains at the team, according to Max Verstappen’s father Jos.

The Red Bull team boss was the main focus of attention at Formula 1’s season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix – where Max Verstappen led Sergio Perez in a Red Bull 1-2 – following an investigation into allegations of inappropriate behaviour made against him.

Red Bull GmbH, the parent company of the reigning constructors’ champions, announced last Wednesday that the grievance made against Horner by a female colleague had been dismissed following an external investigation carried out by a specialist barrister. The claimant retains the right to appeal.

Horner, who denied the allegations throughout the process, came under renewed pressure on Thursday as material purporting to be the alleged evidence in the investigation into his conduct was leaked to numerous media organisations and F1 team principals from an anonymous email account.

“There is tension here while he remains in position,” Jos Verstappen told the Daily Mail.

“The team is in danger of being torn apart. It can’t go on the way it is. It will explode.”

Sky Sports News understands Jos Verstappen made the remarks before Saturday’s Bahrain Grand Prix but stood by them afterwards. Jos Verstappen and Red Bull have been asked for comment by Sky Sports News.

Horner and Jos Verstappen were seen in the paddock throughout the week in Sakhir but the pair also shared a meeting inside Red Bull’s hospitality which ended in an embrace.

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Christian Horner confirms he will be in Jeddah to lead Red Bull at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.

Horner ‘absolutely’ expects to remain as Red Bull boss in Saudi Arabia

Red Bull made the perfect start to the new season on the track as Max Verstappen led every lap on his way to victory at the Bahrain Grand Prix from team-mate Perez.

Horner watched the podium ceremony with his wife Geri Horner, and Red Bull GmbH majority stakeholder Chalerm Yoovidhya.

Asked by Sky Sports F1 if he still expects to be in charge at this week’s Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, Horner said: “Yes, absolutely. I wouldn’t be here otherwise.”

On whether Red Bull was unified he added: “Yes absolutely. We are a very strong team. We have got tremendous support, tremendous partners and great shareholders behind us as well. You don’t achieve this kind of result by not being united.”

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Team principal Christian Horner describes a Red Bull one-two finish in Bahrain as the ‘perfect start’ and praises the staff behind the scenes.

In a later media briefing with reporters at the Bahrain International Circuit, Horner said the past few days had “not been pleasant” and reaffirmed his intention to remain in his dual roles as team principal and chief executive until at least the end of the season.

“Obviously it’s not been pleasant, the unwanted attention,” Horner said. “But the focus is now very much on the cars. My focus has very much been on what’s going on on-track and the result today I think demonstrates where the whole team’s focus is and we move onwards.”

Horner maintained that he cannot comment on what he described as “anonymous speculative messages from an unknown source”, referring to the material leaked on Thursday.

Christian Horner watches the Bahrain GP podium ceremony with Red Bull owner Chalerm Yoovidhya (L) and his wife Geri Haliwell-Horner (R)
Image: Christian Horner watches the Bahrain GP podium ceremony with Red Bull owner Chalerm Yoovidhya (L) and his wife Geri Haliwell-Horner (R)

F1 yet to comment

Horner has been in charge of Red Bull Racing since it formed in 2005 and has led the squad to six constructors’ triumphs and seven drivers’ titles, the last three of which have come in successive seasons for Max Verstappen.

Speaking after taking pole position in Friday’s qualifying, Max Verstappen said that Horner was an “incredible boss” whose record couldn’t be questioned “from the performance side of things”.

After the leaking of the material purporting to be the alleged evidence in the Horner investigation, Formula 1 chief executive Stefano Domenicali and FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem met on Friday to discuss the situation.

Horner left the Red Bull pit wall during final practice ahead of qualifying on Friday to speak to Ben Sulayem, who on the same day told the Financial Times that the situation is “damaging the sport on a human level”. Domenicali has not commented on the matter.

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Max Verstappen says he is fully focused on the car and race performance when asked about Red Bull team principal Christian Horner after taking pole position at the Bahrain Grand Prix.

Max Verstappen says he is focusing on the car and was also asked on Friday how much faith he has in Horner’s leadership.

“When I look at how Christian operates within the team, he has been an incredible team boss, so absolutely from the performance side of things, you can’t even question that,” he said.

“So that’s what I am also dealing with. I speak to Christian a lot, and also of course throughout the weekend here he is fully committed to the team.

“He’s also here for the performance, of course probably a little bit distracted, but like I said before, we just focus on the performance things and that’s how we all work together.”

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Team bosses Toto Wolff and Zak Brown have called for more ‘transparency’ over the investigation into allegations against Christian Horner which have been dismissed. The complainant has the right to appeal the verdict.

Sky Sports F1’s Saudi Arabian GP schedule

Wednesday March 6

  • 2.30pm: Drivers’ Press Conference

Thursday March 7

  • 9.50am: F2 Practice
  • 10.50am: F1 Academy Practice
  • 1pm: Saudi Arabian GP Practice One (session starts at 1.30pm)
  • 2.55pm: F2 Qualifying
  • 4.45pm: Saudi Arabian GP Practice Two (session starts at 5pm)
  • 6.15pm: F1 Academy Qualifying
  • 7.15pm: The F1 Show

Friday March 8

  • 11.55am: F1 Academy Race 1
  • 1.10pm: Saudi Arabian GP Practice Three (session starts at 1.30pm)
  • 3.05pm: F2 Sprint Race
  • 4.10pm: Saudi Arabian GP Qualifying build-up

Saturday March 9

  • 12pm: F1 Academy Race 2
  • 1.20pm: F2 Feature Race
  • 3.30pm: Saudi Arabian GP build-up: Grand Prix Saturday
  • 7pm: Saudi Arabian GP reaction: Chequered flag
  • 9.30pm: Saudi Arabian GP highlights

Watch the second round of the new F1 season – the Saudi Arabian GP – live on Sky Sports F1 this coming week, with practice on Thursday, qualifying on Friday and the race at 5pm on Saturday.

Sky News
(c) Sky Sports 2024:Source