Red Bull F1 team ‘will explode’ amid Christian Horner controversy | Motorsports News

Driver Max Verstappen’s father, Jos, claims Red Bull is ‘in danger of being torn apart’ if Horner stays on as team principal.

Christian Horner’s leadership has been cast into fresh doubt after racing driver Max Verstappen’s father, Jos, claimed Red Bull is “in danger of being torn apart” if the under-fire team principal remains in his role.

A defiant Horner said on Saturday night that he is “absolutely confident” he will stay on as Red Bull boss for the remainder of the Formula One season after overseeing Verstappen lead a one-two finish from teammate Sergio Perez at the opening round in Bahrain.

Horner’s job has faced intense scrutiny in recent weeks following misconduct allegations made against him by a female colleague. Horner has always denied the claims.

However, Jos Verstappen, Max’s father and a retired racing driver, claimed “there is tension” in the Red Bull team in comments he made to the Daily Mail newspaper after the race.

“The team is in danger of being torn apart. It can’t go on the way it is. It will explode. He is playing the victim, when he is the one causing the problems,” he said.

During an extraordinary week in Bahrain, Horner was exonerated by Red Bull Racing parent’s company, Red Bull GmbH, following an internal probe into allegations of “inappropriate behaviour”.

But hundreds of WhatsApp messages, appearing to be exchanged between Horner and the complainant, were then leaked to the F1 world.

Jos, the 51-year-old father of Red Bull’s three-time world champion, has denied reports that he is trying orchestrate Horner’s ouster

“That wouldn’t make sense,” he said. “Why would I do that when Max is doing so well here?”

Horner strode hand in hand with wife Geri Halliwell in the paddock one hour and 45 minutes before Saturday’s race.

Red Bull’s majority shareholder, Thai billionaire Chalerm Yoovidhya, also joined the duo on the team’s terrace in a public show of support for Horner.

Formula One F1 - Bahrain Grand Prix - Bahrain International Circuit, Sakhir, Bahrain - March 2, 2024 Red Bull team principal Christian Horner and Businessman Chalerm Yoovidhya with his wife Daranee Yoovidhya are seen after the race REUTERS/Hamad I Mohammed
Red Bull team principal Christian Horner, flanked by Chalerm Yoovidhya and his wife Daranee Yoovidhya, chat after the Formula One Bahrain Grand Prix race in Sakhir, Bahrain [Hamad I Mohammed/Reuters]

Speaking after the chequered flag had fallen, Horner was asked if he is confident he will stay on as Red Bull team principal for the rest of the season. He replied: “Absolutely.”

He continued: “I have the support of an incredible family, an incredible wife, an incredible team and everybody within that team.

“And my focus is on going racing, winning races, and doing the best I can.

“It was a day about starting the season in the best possible way. My focus is on this team, my family, my wife and racing.”

Horner was also quizzed about the leaked Google file that was sent from an anonymous email account to 149 members of the F1 paddock – including FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem, F1 chief executive Stefano Domenicali and the grid’s nine other team principals, as well as members of the media.

Horner said: “I am not going to comment on anonymous speculative messages from an unknown source. I am not going to comment on what motives whatever person may have for doing this.

“Obviously, it has not been pleasant with some of the unwanted attention, but the focus is very much on the cars and my focus has been on what is happening on track and the result today demonstrates where the focus is.

“There was a full, lengthy internal process that was completed by an independent KC and the grievance that was raised was dismissed. End of. Move on.”

Horner is set to be back in the spotlight in just four days, when the cars hit the track in practice for the next round in Saudi Arabia.

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