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Formula 1 Austrian GP

Horner denies meddling after Jos Verstappen “childish” accusations

Christian Horner refutes suggestions from Jos Verstappen that he blocked Max Verstappen's father from driving a 2012 Red Bull Formula 1 car in the Austrian Grand Prix's Legends Parade

Helmut Marko, Consultant, Red Bull Racing, Christian Horner, Team Principal, Red Bull Racing, Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing

Helmut Marko, Consultant, Red Bull Racing, Christian Horner, Team Principal, Red Bull Racing, Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing

Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

Red Bull Formula 1 team principal Christian Horner has denied meddling in a planned demo run for Jos Verstappen that has triggered the latest flashpoint between the pair.

Verstappen Sr. caused a stir on Friday when he accused Horner of moving to block his planned involvement in the annual Legends Parade at the Austrian Grand Prix.

The Dutchman had been set to join fellow ex-F1 drivers like Gerhard Berger, David Coulthard and Emerson Fittipaldi in the demonstration run planned for Sunday, taking the wheel of a 2012 RB8 car.

But Verstappen has claimed that he had been forced to pull out because Horner did not want him to be filmed.

Speaking to Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf, Verstappen said: “Over the past few days, I have heard from several people that Christian Horner did everything he could to make sure I didn't drive.

“And to otherwise make sure nothing would be filmed. Then I think: say it to my face. This way I don’t want to do it anymore, I find it very disappointing.”

He also added to the website of Dutch magazine Formula 1: “I am completely done with him. It looks like a kindergarten. I could have driven, but I pulled out.

“I find this so childish of Horner. It says something about him, I think.”

Helmut Marko, Consultant, Red Bull Racing, Jos Verstappen

Helmut Marko, Consultant, Red Bull Racing, Jos Verstappen

Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

Asked for his version of events, Horner insisted that there had been no refusal from his side of Verstappen being involved in the run.

“The Legends Parade is something that is organised by the circuit,” he said. “There was no veto from my side or anything like that. And I'm sure the legends will be in action later.”

Verstappen’s criticisms of Horner have triggered fresh talk of tensions within the Red Bull camp between the two men.

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After the Bahrain Grand Prix earlier this year, Verstappen famously warned that Red Bull risked falling apart if Horner stayed on board.

Pushed on how his relationship was with Jos now, Horner deliberately steered clear of stirring things up even more.

“I've never had an issue with any of our drivers' fathers in the past, and whatever Jos' issues are, I've really got nothing to comment on.”

Horner went on to suggest that he ultimately did not care much for how things played out with Verstappen Sr., as all that mattered to him was how well team members worked together.

“My interest is in the performance of the team,” he said. “We have a wonderful team and we [have] got great drivers.

Christian Horner, Team Principal, Red Bull Racing, in the Team Principals Press Conference

Christian Horner, Team Principal, Red Bull Racing, in the Team Principals Press Conference

Photo by: Mark Sutton

“In Max, we've got the best driver in the world and he came to our team as a young man. And he's grown and grown in stature. He's grown as a driver and as a human being.

“The way he conducts himself, the way he works with the team is outstanding. And that is my key interest.”

He added: “You can't control everything in life. I can't control relationships with drivers’ fathers, but my focus is on the performance of our drivers and performance of our team. And that's where it will remain.”

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