Christian Horner refutes suggestion of Red Bull F1 team in-fighting

Christian Horner was defiant in response to suggestions of a political war within the Red Bull F1 team.

Geri Horner (GBR) Singer with husband Christian Horner (GBR) Red Bull Racing Team Principal and Adrian Newey (GBR) Red Bull
Geri Horner (GBR) Singer with husband Christian Horner (GBR) Red Bull…

Christian Horner has refuted suggestions of political in-fighting within Red Bull, insisting the F1 team is “incredibly strong”.

Ahead of last week’s season-opener in Bahrain the Red Bull team principal was cleared of wrongdoing after accusations of inappropriate behaviour were made against him by a female colleague, who has since been suspended.

24 hours later Horner faced fresh scrutiny after messages purporting to involve him were leaked to high-profile F1 figures and media.

The 50-year-old insisted it was time to “draw a line” under the matter on Thursday, ahead of this weekend’s grand prix in Jeddah.

Doubts then emerged over the future of Red Bull motorsport Helmut Marko on Friday night when it was revealed he faced an investigation relating to various leaks to the media in a fresh twist to the saga.

But ahead of Saturday’s Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, the 80-year-old Austrian confirmed he will stay at the team after holding crunch talks with Red Bull CEO Oliver Mintzlaff.

Horner was quizzed on reports of a political feud within the camp following the Jeddah race, where Red Bull claimed a second consecutive 1-2 led by Max Verstappen.

Asked if there is a battle going on for who controls the race team, Horner told Sky: “No. Obviously a lot is made of this stuff but we are one team.

“Nobody is bigger than the team. This team comprises across the different entities of over 1,400 people. Everybody has a role to play. That’s from the very bottom to the very top, and without them performing, you don’t achieve performances like this.

“Unfortunately, there’s been a lot of speculation this weekend but once again our focus is very much on track.”

Christian Horner (GBR) Red Bull Racing Team Principal with Max Verstappen (NLD) Red Bull Racing. Formula 1 World
Christian Horner (GBR) Red Bull Racing Team Principal with Max Verstappen …

On Marko’s situation and the strong backing he received from Verstappen, Horner said: “Firstly, Helmut is a consultant to Red Bull GmbH, so whatever the discussion was was between them and not the team.

“Max is an important member of our team, he’s a valued member of our team, he’s a wonderful driver but everybody has a role to play in this team. We are a team and no single individual is bigger than the team. That’s the only way you achieve these kind of results.

“This is an incredibly strong team that has strength and depth, that is achieving these kind of results.”

Verstappen’s father, Jos, spoke out against Horner following reports of a rift between the pair in Bahrain, warning that the controversy risked “driving people apart”.

Asked if he has the support of his star driver, Horner responded: “Obviously there’s [been] rumblings. I’m aware of what’s been said but Max is an important part of this team. He’s our driver and he’s doing a great job.

“As team principal and CEO, I’m responsible for the running of this team. So everyone has to do their part. Max is doing his part. Everybody else is doing their part.”

Horner was then pressed further on whether he has to fix his relationship with Verstappen’s father.

“Look, I think speculation is obviously rife but the most important thing is the team and focusing on on-track performances,” he said.

“We all have a vested interest in achieving performances like today.”

Horner added: “There’s nine other teams trying to do what we’re doing. It’s not that easy.

“You only do that by having a spirit, a culture and a determination throughout the entire company.” 

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