Controversial Leaks Fuel Tensions within Red Bull Team, Says Max Verstappen’s Father

In the midst of an escalating controversy surrounding Red Bull Racing’s Team Principal, Christian Horner, tensions within the team are reaching a boiling point, according to statements made by Jos Verstappen, the father of reigning F1 champion Max Verstappen.

Speaking to De Telegraaf in the Netherlands, Verstappen expressed concern about the current state of affairs, stating, “It cannot continue this way. The situation is not good for the team and is driving people apart.” This comes after an anonymous email containing purported messages involving Horner was leaked on Thursday, a day after Red Bull dismissed allegations of inappropriate behavior against him.

The 51-year-old former F1 driver denied any involvement in the leaked messages and emphasized his lack of interest in stirring controversy within the team. “Why would I do that? Max has a contract with Red Bull until 2028, is performing great, and feels at home here,” Verstappen asserted.

In interviews with the Daily Mail, Verstappen warned that Red Bull would “explode” if Horner retained his position, accusing him of playing the victim while causing problems within the team. Notably, Verstappen disclosed to BBC Sport that these comments were made following a disagreement with Horner in Bahrain. Despite Max Verstappen being aware of the statements, he did not offer any immediate response.

The intervention by Jos Verstappen holds significance, considering Max’s influential position within Red Bull due to his on-track success. This development sheds light on internal tensions within the team, not only between Horner and Helmut Marko, the motorsport adviser, but also reflecting broader discord between the Thai majority owners and executives at the Austrian headquarters.

The Red Bull Racing ownership structure, with a 51% stake held by the Thai Yoovidhya family and 49% by Red Bull in Austria, has previously witnessed conflicts. Last year, the Verstappens sided with Austrian Marko following a falling out with Horner. The current turmoil adds another layer of complexity, with the team grappling with internal divisions against the backdrop of the recent passing of Dietrich Mateschitz, co-founder and father of Red Bull owner Mark Mateschitz. BBC Sport has reached out to Red Bull for comment on the unfolding situation.