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Jos Verstappen: Red Bull F1 team risks being “torn apart” if Horner stays

Jos Verstappen, father of triple Formula 1 world champion Max Verstappen, has warned that Red Bull risks being “torn apart” if Christian Horner remains as team principal.

Christian Horner, Team Principal, Red Bull Racing with Jos Verstappen

Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

As a weekend of high-tension for Horner came to an end with a dominant 1-2 for Red Bull in the Bahrain Grand Prix, the situation surrounding his future took a dramatic twist late in the evening as Verstappen Sr called for him to go.

Horner has been the subject of an investigation by Red Bull’s energy drinks company following allegations made against him by a female employee.

The eight-week long probe into his behaviour ended on Wednesday with Red Bull dismissing the claims and clearing Horner of wrongdoing.

Just 24 hours later though, in a move clearly designed to try to force Horner out, anonymous emails were sent to senior F1 personnel, including team principals and media, revealing the alleged evidence at the centre of the matter.

Horner has stood firm amid the controversy and helped oversee Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez bring home a perfect start to the new F1 season for the squad on Saturday in Bahrain.

But it is clear tensions remain among those close to him, and Verstappen Sr has now upped the ante in calling for Horner to go.

Speaking to the Daily Mail, Verstappen Sr said: “There is tension here while he remains in position.

“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.”

Geri Horner and Christian Horner, Team Principal, Red Bull Racing, celebrate at the podium ceremony

Geri Horner and Christian Horner, Team Principal, Red Bull Racing, celebrate at the podium ceremony

Photo by: Zak Mauger / Motorsport Images

The strong words from Verstappen Sr are significant because of the huge influence that his son has at the squad, as he knuckles down for what he hopes is a charge to his fourth world crown.

Max Verstappen was questioned several times over the Bahrain weekend for his views on Horner, and has repeatedly been very careful in what he says.

Asked on Friday night if he had faith in Horner, the Dutch driver said: “Listen, 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. So that's what I'm also dealing with.

“I speak to Christian a lot. And also, of course, throughout the weekend here, he's 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 side of things. And that's how we all work together.”

There have been wild rumours that Verstappen Sr has been involved in the behind-the-scenes powerplay that is trying to get Horner out of his Red Bull role.

But this is something he has denied.

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

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