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Horner Dismisses Verstappen Exit Talks

Horner Dismisses Verstappen Exit Talks

10/03/2024

Christian Horner remains unshaken by rumors of Verstappen’s potential move to Mercedes, asserting loyalty to Red Bull Racing.

Christian Horner, Team Principal of Red Bull Racing, sees “no reason why anyone would want to leave this team” amid speculation linking Max Verstappen with a shock move to Mercedes if internal issues within the Austrian team are not resolved.

2024 started perfectly for Red Bull on track, but off it, the team has been thrust into turmoil following an investigation into Horner and a clear power struggle between the Austrians and Thais.

Verstappen threatened to leave if Marko was removed from Red Bull’s management, a threat that seemed to have diminished by Saturday when Marko confirmed that discussions had clarified his situation with Oliver Mintzlaff, CEO of Red Bull.

“I’m sure every team in the paddock would love to have Max, but as Toto also said, the best drivers always want to be in the best cars,” Horner replied when asked if he thought Verstappen moving away from Red Bull was a possibility.

“Max has achieved his 56th Grand Prix win and his 100th podium, all with Red Bull Racing. As a team, we work exceptionally well together, and everyone has a role to play, from the designers, support staff, operational personnel, to every single one of the 22 different departments that make up Red Bull Racing.”

“If not everyone is doing their part, you won’t get a performance like that. As a team, we are achieving exceptionally high performances and we hope to see this continue.”

But Horner concedes…

“You can never say never. If a driver doesn’t want to be somewhere, they will go elsewhere.”

“But I see no reason why anyone would want to leave this team. I think there’s great support around him and he’s doing a fantastic job with an excellent car.”

Are things clear with Dr. Helmut Marko and Max Verstappen after Mintzlaff’s visit?

“My relationship with Helmut is not an issue, I think he’s always straightforward, but that’s Helmut. And all is well with Max.”

“He works well within the team. There’s no tension. There’s no stress. You can see how relaxed he is in the garage with everyone in the team. This is also reflected in his performance on track. We see no issue with Max.”

“The team’s success depends on everyone wanting to be here. Max is under contract until 2028. He has been with us since he was 18. I have no doubt about his commitment and passion for the future.”

Why was there an investigation into Marko with a suspension threat?

“I think the suspension rumors were as new to the team as to anyone else. We were quite surprised to hear about it. But Helmut is under contract with Red Bull GmbH in Austria, not with the team.”

“It was an issue between them, and we were not part of that discussion. I’ve known Helmut since 1996. He has played a significant role over the years. That role has evolved over time. But I know him very well.”

Max Verstappen made it clear on Friday he did not want to continue without Marko. Is this a sign of Verstappen’s significant influence in getting certain things done?

“I saw Max when he made comments in favor of Helmut. Of course, we have a very good relationship with Max and we listen to everything Max has to say. But the team will always make the right decisions for the team first. Whether strategically, in a race, for the future, or choosing an engine, or a sponsorship decision. The team will always do what’s best for the team, not for an individual.”

Horner Dismisses Verstappen Exit Talks. Horner Dismisses Verstappen Exit Talks

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