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Horner Eyes CEO Role Amid Red Bull Turmoil

Horner Eyes CEO Role Amid Red Bull Turmoil

21/03/2024

Christian Horner targets the CEO position at Red Bull GmbH, amidst a growing internal power struggle and personal controversies.

Christian Horner aims to become CEO of Red Bull GmbH, encompassing the entire Austrian branch of the energy drink company.

As Horner’s personal scandal and the clear power struggle within Red Bull escalate, it’s increasingly evident that there’s more at stake than just F1.

Horner has grown very close to Chalerm Yoovidhya, a 51% shareholder of Red Bull, who has gained increased power since the Austrian part of the company lost its veto right following the death of Dietrich Mateschitz in late 2022.

Initially, Horner sought shares in Red Bull Racing. He failed but secured the marketing rights for the sister team AlphaTauri, which became the RB F1 Team.

Horner is currently in talks to become CEO of the parent company GmbH, a position now jointly held by three figures from the Austrian faction after Mateschitz’s death. Oliver Mintzlaff (sports), Franz Watzlawick (sales), and Alexander Kirchmayr (finance) share the roles.

These three CEOs could be ousted by Yoovidhya to appoint Horner in their stead. This plan would also include the departure of Dr. Helmut Marko.

In the Australian GP paddock, it’s said that this outcome is so imminent that Marko has confirmed to the Verstappen clan he would not stay in such a case. And the Verstappens have been reportedly negotiating very actively with Mercedes F1 in recent days, leading to intense rumors this morning that forced Max Verstappen to respond (read here).

Verstappen’s manager, Raymond Vermeulen, was seen in intense discussions with Horner in the paddock this morning (photo below), and the cards may finally be revealed very soon, according to multiple sources.

Horner seems to accept the situation and believes Alex Albon could replace Verstappen, with the added advantage that he is from Thailand, which would certainly align with Yoovidhya’s wish to see Red Bull win with a driver from the brand’s country of origin.

Other sources confirm that designer Adrian Newey is already in “advanced talks” with Ferrari about a team switch.

When asked on Wednesday if Verstappen had spoken to him about a possible move to Mercedes F1, Dr. Helmut Marko, senior consultant for Red Bull, said, “These are internal matters.”

“You can’t seriously expect a response from me.”

It emerged that Horner was unaware a “Marko clause” had been retroactively added to Verstappen’s new contract in 2022, allowing him to escape his contract if Marko was ousted or left.

When asked if he would attend 24 Grands Prix this season in Red Bull attire, Marko said, “I have everything booked for that, but it still doesn’t mean much…”

Horner Eyes CEO Role Amid Red Bull Turmoil. Horner Eyes CEO Role Amid Red Bull Turmoil

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