Max Verstappen’s father calls for the dismissal of Red Bull boss Christian Horner after questions about misconduct

By | March 4, 2024

Max Verstappen’s father wants Red Bull director Christian Horner to leave following the conclusion of an investigation into alleged misconduct.

Jos Verstappen made his feelings known in a statement to The Daily Mail during the opening weekend of Formula 1, in which his son Max won from pole position in Bahrain on Saturday.

Jos believes that distractions and conflict caused by the Horner controversy threaten the future success of Verstappen and Red Bull.

“There is tension here while he remains in position,” Jos Verstappen told the Daily Mail. “The team is in danger of being torn apart. It cannot continue as it is. It will explode. He plays the victim, while he is the one causing the problems.”

Verstappen is competing in the drivers’ championship for the third time in a row with Red Bull with Horner as team boss. His 2023 title was the most dominant race in F1 history, with Verstappen winning 19 of the circuit’s 22 races. Jos drove eight seasons in F1 from 1994 to 2003.

Horner was accused of misconduct against a Red Bull employee

Horner was the subject of an independent investigation following allegations that he engaged in inappropriate behavior towards a female Red Bull employee. Red Bull announced last Wednesday that the complaint against Horner had been dismissed and that Horner would remain with the team.

“The independent investigation into the allegations against Mr Horner has been completed and Red Bull can confirm that the complaint has been dismissed,” Red Bull’s statement read. “The complainant has the right to appeal. Red Bull is confident that the investigation has been completed.” have been fair, rigorous and impartial.”

Christian Horner, left, and Jos Verstappen speak in the F1 Paddock ahead of the Bahrain Grand Prix last week.  (Clive Rose/Getty Images)

Christian Horner, left, and Jos Verstappen speak in the F1 Paddock ahead of the Bahrain Grand Prix last week. (Clive Rose/Getty Images)

Horner denied allegations after the files were leaked

Details of the charges against Horner have not been released. A day after the team announced that Horner would stay, the Associated Press reported the distribution of leaked files from a generic email account that purported to provide evidence of Horner’s alleged misconduct.

The files were sent to the media and Horner’s rival team leaders in the F1 paddock, among others. AP reported that it could not verify the authenticity of the files. The news prompted a response from Horner as Red Bull practiced in preparation for the Bahrain Grand Prix.

“I will not comment on anonymous speculation, but I repeat: I have always denied the allegations,” Horner said in a statement to the media. “I have respected the integrity of the independent investigation and cooperated fully with it every step of the way. It was a thorough and fair investigation, carried out by an independent specialist lawyer, and it has been concluded with the complaint being dismissed. I remain fully focused on the start of the season.”

Red Bull’s top rival responds

Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff called for more transparency on the issue following Red Bull’s resignation statement.

“I just don’t think as a sport we can afford to leave things vague and opaque on critical topics like this because it will catch us out,” Wolf told the AP.

With Verstappen, Red Bull has replaced Mercedes as the dominant force in F1 after Mercedes claimed eight consecutive constructors’ championships between 2014 and 2021. Lewis Hamilton won six drivers’ championships in that period. Red Bull has since won two consecutive Constructors’ Championships, in addition to Verstappen’s three Drivers’ Championships.

Max Verstappen responds

Verstappen has not publicly echoed his father’s sentiments. He spoke about Horner’s status with the media on Friday after reports of the leaked files.

“From my side and from the mechanics and engineers, we are completely focused on the car and completely focused on the weekend, that’s how it should be and that’s what we continue to do,” after Verstappen secured pole position, per PA Media. “When I look at how Christian has operated within the team, he has been an incredible boss, so when you look at the performance you can’t doubt that. … I talk to Christian a lot and he is fully committed to the team.

“He’s here for the performance, and of course he’s a little distracted, but we just focus on the performance and that’s how we all work together.

Horner’s wife Geri Halliwell is by his side

Horner’s fame has grown along with Verstappen’s, as he played a prominent role in Netflix’s “Drive to Survive”, alongside Red Bull’s emergence as the top F1 team. He has led Red Bull since 2005, a run that included four consecutive Constructors’ and Drivers’ Championships from 2010 to 2013, with Sebastian Vettel as the team’s No. 1 driver.

He is married to Geri Halliwell, who became famous as Ginger Spice from The Spice Girls. Halliwell and Horner walked hand in hand as they smiled in an apparent show of solidarity ahead of Saturday’s race.

Christian Horner and his wife Geri Halliwell hold hands ahead of the Bahrain Grand Prix.  (Qian Jun/MB Media/Getty Images)Christian Horner and his wife Geri Halliwell hold hands ahead of the Bahrain Grand Prix.  (Qian Jun/MB Media/Getty Images)

Christian Horner and his wife Geri Halliwell hold hands ahead of the Bahrain Grand Prix. (Qian Jun/MB Media/Getty Images)

The F1 season moves to Saudi Arabia next week for the second race of 2024, before taking a week off ahead of the Australian Grand Prix. Excitement and questions continue to swirl around the circuit’s top team as the season is in full swing.

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