Jos Verstappen confirms Red Bull ‘power struggle’ amid Christian Horner scandal

Tension is said to be high between Christian Horner, Jos Verstappen and several other leading voices at Red Bull (Photo: Getty)

Max Verstappen’s father Jos has confirmed that ‘there is definitely a power struggle’ at Red Bull amid the ongoing Christian Horner scandal.

As Formula 1 heads down under for this weekend’s Australian Grand Prix, the Horner scandal continues to cast a dark shadow over the sport.

The female employee of Red Bull who accused Horner of ‘inappropriate behaviour’ is appealing the decision to clear the team principal of any wrongdoing.

Speculation surrounding the future of Horner, husband of former Spice Girl Geri Halliwell, Max and several Red Bull chiefs is rife, with the saga refusing to go away quickly or quietly.

The owners of the F1 champions are seemingly split over whether Horner should be sacked, with Jos himself infamously calling for the 50-year-old to get the axe after the season opener in Bahrain.

Jos was filmed having a ‘blazing row’ with Horner ahead of the race and did not attend the following event in Saudi Arabia, and it is not yet known whether he’ll be in Melbourne.

Long before the scandal even started, there were reports of tensions between the likes of Horner, the Verstappens, the owners and team advisor Helmut Marko, which have been brewing since the death of Red Bull founder and owner Dietrich Mateschitz in 2022.

F1 Grand Prix of Bahrain - Practice

Jos previously suggested that son Max could leave Red Bull if Horner remained in charge (Photo: Getty)

There have been considerable efforts to play down these rumours, but Verstappen Sr. appears to have put his foot in it once again by confirming that the ‘power struggle’ is real.

‘It’s definitely hard for the outside world to follow,’ the former F1 driver told Belgian news outlet Sporza.

‘I think it is a necessity for them to get calm within the team, but given the circumstances, I think it will continue for a while. I’m curious, but it doesn’t help the whole process.

Christian Horner investigation – what we know

‘There is definitely a certain power struggle going on. We’ll see, I can’t say too much about it.

‘I hope peace returns soon and they start concentrating on racing because that’s what it’s all about. But this is not good.’

Red Bull have started 2024 perfectly with Max Verstappen leading Sergio Perez to 1-2 finishes in the first two races, but their on track success has been overlooked due to the saga off it.

Christian Horner investigation timeline

How the scandal has unfolded…

Monday 5 February – Red Bull confirm investigation into Horner over ‘controlling behaviour’ allegations

Friday 9 February – Horner grilled by independent lawyer during eight-hour hearing

Thursday 15 February – Horner attends Red Bull’s 2024 car launch and publicly addresses allegations for first time – says he ‘fully denies’ any wrongdoing

Friday 16 February – Fresh allegations emerge in Dutch Newspaper De Telegraaf suggesting Horner sent messages of a ‘suggestive nature’ to a female employee

Wednesday 21 February to Friday 23 February – Horner attends Formula 1 pre-season testing in Bahrain – says: ‘We hope there is a resolution as soon as possible’

Friday 23 February – Sixth series of F1: Drive to Survive releases on Netflix – Horner and wife Geri Halliwell feature in docuseries

Wednesday 28 February – Horner cleared of allegations – Red Bull say: ‘The investigation is complete and the grievance has been dismissed. The complainant has a right of appeal’

Thursday 29 February – WhatsApp messages and images supposedly between Horner and the complainant were leaked to the media and F1 personnel

Friday 1 March – Horner summoned for showdown talks with F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali and FIA President Mohammed Ben Sulayem – later, Horner has a ‘blazing row’ with Jos Verstappen

Saturday 2 March – Red Bull’s Max Verstappen wins season opening Bahrain Grand Prix – hours later, his father Jos warns Red Bull ‘is in danger of being torn apart’ unless Horner leaves

Thursday 7 March – Horner’s accuser is suspended on full pay by Red Bull

Sunday 10 March – Following Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, Red Bull’s owners hold crisis talks amid reports Horner will be sacked and Verstappen could leave for Mercedes

Max has never been one happy to discuss matters away from the racing and has been keen to avoid answering questions on the ongoing saga, though he did insist his dad was ‘not a liar’ when asked about Jos’ previous comments.

‘I don’t know what to do,’ Jos added.

‘The most important thing for us is that Max keeps winning and he is doing that. The car is very good and between the engineers and Max, there is nothing going on, so that is also good.

‘Max knows how to get that part out too, but he gets a lot of questions about what’s going on and he doesn’t like that. But that’s also part of it, the other side of Formula One.’

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