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Red Bull Power Struggle

Verstappen’s Future at Red Bull in Jeopardy Amid Crisis

05/03/2024

Amid the unfolding scandal, Red Bull Racing faces a critical power struggle, stirring tensions within its empire.

Every day, details emerge about the scandal currently shaking the Red Bull Racing team and, more broadly now, the entire Red Bull empire.

It is once again Jos Verstappen who dares to speak out, adding another layer by admitting that the Christian Horner affair is indeed also a “power struggle” involving the Austrian and Thai shareholders of Red Bull.

Max’s father has spoken out again as Horner met yesterday in Dubai with his son’s manager, Raymond Vermeulen, in an effort to ease tensions, according to several sources.

The world champion was invited by FIA President Mohammed Ben Sulayem to publicly support Horner last weekend, which he did not do.

The apparent rift between the Verstappens and the team has sparked speculation that the driver could leave before his current contract expires in 2028. He would have the option to leave if Red Bull Motorsport consultant Helmut Marko does not stay with the team, the latter having admitted he “would not stand in Max’s way” (read here).

As Formula 1 heads to Saudi Arabia for the second round of the 2024 World Championship, the Horner saga continues and is only worsening, not only for the embattled boss but also for the entire Red Bull team, otherwise dominant.

Jos Verstappen hinted in Bahrain that even if Horner had been cleared by an internal investigation, it could not be ruled out that Max would leave the team due to the crisis that “risks blowing up Red Bull,” according to him.

And Dr. Marko has now stated that losing Verstappen could be impossible for Red Bull to immediately overcome.

“Some people think Red Bull Racing is so well-placed that it can replace anyone. Wrong, you cannot replace Max that easily.”

If Verstappen and Marko leave, it is believed that designer Adrian Newey could follow them. Jos Verstappen insists that the chances of an exodus at Red Bull are real and would leave Horner alone – possibly also without Ford’s involvement in the 2026 engine project.

Such statements carry weight because the Austrian branch of Red Bull supports Christian Horner’s departure, against the opinion of the Thai branch (majority at 51%), which keeps him in place for now.

What was a supposed power struggle for several months is finally very much a reality.

“No piece of paper will separate us,” Jos Verstappen said today, who will not be in Jeddah this weekend as he is participating in a rally in Belgium.

“We will act and do what is best for Max, even though we are of course fully behind the parent company in Austria in the power struggle.”

So, Jos has once again publicly dropped the word: power struggle.

According to several sources, the entire Horner affair was triggered not by revelations of what happened with an employee but by behind-the-scenes maneuvers to take control of Red Bull Racing by aligning with the Thai shareholder and British investors.

Separating Red Bull Racing from Red Bull GmbH was thus Horner’s plan with Chalem Yoovidhya, seen with him in Bahrain (photo below). This “coup,” as some call it, failed in 2023 but is still not ruled out.

As Gerhard Berger said yesterday, “for now, Horner stays, Helmut Marko and Adrian Newey will resign, and Max will go to Mercedes.”

Will this be enough to make Yoovidhya think twice, abandon his plan, and fire Horner?

Today, it is about much more than Formula 1: the future of the entire Red Bull is currently at stake.

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