Claims Christian Horner’s Red Bull saga not over with ‘piranha world’ and ‘few sharks swimming’

Michelle Foster
Christian Horner speaking in a press conference.

The investigation into Christian Horner was made public at the start of February.

Long dubbed the ‘Piranha Club’ by Ron Dennis, Christijan Albers has warned Red Bull and Christian Horner that never mind the piranhas, there are “a few sharks swimming”.

Red Bull’s championship-leading start to the season has been blighted by negative headlines, sparked by an investigation into Christian Horner’s alleged inappropriate behaviour.

‘It’s just a piranha world and we have a few sharks swimming’

Red Bull’s parent company, Red Bull GmbH, dismissed the allegations on the eve of the season but a month later it rumbles on with reports the woman who accused the Red Bull team boss has appealed decision.

The FIA is also reportedly evaluating an enquiry relating to the allegations by Horner’s accuser.

In the middle of it all, Jos Verstappen has called for Horner to step down as team boss, and has done so more than once, while Helmut Marko was drawn into it as he revealed he would be suspended over an inquiry into leaks in the Horner sago – but that never came.

From a “battle for power” that is taking its “toll” on the team as suggested by David Croft, to Giedo van der Garde pondering whether Red Bull’s off-track drama is beginning to impact their on-track performances after Verstappen’s Australian Grand Prix retirement, Red Bull is a team that still appears to be in conflict.

And, according to Albers, there are no signs of it quietening down, despite what the team wishes to convey.

“That is also still not over and that will continue throughout the year as well. Only they will have agreed more with each other to make that less noticeable,” Albers told De Telegraaf’s F1 podcast.

“They have noticed that if they address their confidants all in the paddock, it still secretly becomes a mess anyway because everyone is chattering anyway and you see how that works in the Formula 1 world.

“It’s just a piranha world and we have a few sharks swimming in between.”

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With Red Bull’s off-track saga overshadowing Max Verstappen’s on-track results, his father Jos Verstappen has not only called for Horner to step down as Red Bull’s team boss, but he’s also reportedly been in contact with Mercedes’ Toto Wolff.

This has led to speculation Verstappen could leave Red Bull, although the Dutchman himself has denied this.

That, though, has done nothing to silence the rumours.

And according to Viaplay analyst Ernest Knoors, fuel was thrown on the fire at the Australian Grand Prix when Horner talked up Carlos Sainz’s performance as the Spaniard capitalised on Verstappen’s retirement to win the Australian Grand Prix.

But while initially his comments about Sainz, “the only driver that’s beaten Red Bull“, were thought to be in relation to the second Red Bull seat of Sergio Perez, the Viaplay analyst reckons it was actually aimed at Verstappen.

“I find this very interesting,” the Viaplay analyst told Motorsport.com. “I think you should also see this a bit in relation to the power struggle of Christian Horner with Helmut Marko, and Red Bull Thailand with Red Bull Austria.

“If Christian feels that Max Verstappen, Jos Verstappen, and Helmut Marko are putting a little pressure on him, he can think: Well, someone like Carlos Sainz. If I bring him in, then I have someone with whom I can potentially become a champion.’

“That would increase the pressure on Max, because I don’t really think Max is eager to have Carlos Sainz as a teammate. I think there is a large part of politics involved and Christian is of course politically very smart.”

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