Max Verstappen “quite close” to Mercedes deal as Christian Horner told to “step aside”

F1 legend Johnny Herbert has called on Christian Horner to "step aside" to avoid losing Max Verstappen to Mercedes.

Christian Horner and Max Verstappen pictured in the Red Bull garage
Christian Horner and Max Verstappen pictured in the Red Bull garage

Former F1 driver Johnny Herbert has suggested that Red Bull boss Christian Horner should resign amid the ongoing scandal and possibility of losing Max Verstappen to Mercedes.

Since the start of February, Horner has dominated the headlines after allegations of inappropriate behaviour emerged.

Ahead of the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix, Horner was cleared of any wrongdoing following an independent investigation, seemingly bringing an end to the saga.

However, shortly after, alleged material - text messages and images - from the investigation was leaked to accredited journalists, team bosses and team personnel.

The saga has continued to engulf the team with Jos Verstappen calling Horner to leave the team as it risked tearing the team apart, while Helmut Marko’s position has also been under scrutiny.

There was talk of Marko being potentially suspended in Saudi Arabia which led to a strong reaction from the reigning world champion that if Marko goes, he does as well.

Christian Horner, Adrian Newey and Max Verstappen celebrate
Christian Horner, Adrian Newey and Max Verstappen celebrate

Herbert now believes that Red Bull are close to pushing Verstappen “out of the team” as a result of the ongoing situation.

“It's not a good thing for F1 with the whole thing going on and the belated heat on it,” he told The Sun.

“It doesn't help the situation for Red Bull who have the best driver in the world at the present time.

“And they're very close to pushing [Max Verstappen] out off the team, I've heard they are getting quite close with the deal with Mercedes. It seems like a stupid thing to do, their biggest asset is not the Christian Horner show.”

“It would be crazy for Max to leave because of the situation. Jos has said it will be very destructive and rip it apart and I think it's gone on for far too long. In some respects, Christian should really think about it and step aside.”

Red Bull have dominated the opening two rounds of 2024, taking 1-2 finishes in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia. 

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