Christian Horner saga development and FIA president under investigation – F1 news round-up

Sam Cooper
Christian Horner and Mohammed Ben Sulayem

Christian Horner was back in the news while a Mohammed Ben Sulayem bombshell was revealed.

Another quiet day in the world of F1 then? Well not quite as we had a Max Verstappen contract revelation and the FIA president coming under fire.

Lately it seems you cannot go more than a few hours without some major F1 news so here’s everything you may have missed on Monday, March 4.

Max Verstappen exit clause revealed

Following the Jos bombshell, there was more drama at Red Bull as claimed Max Verstappen has an exit clause in his contract.

Apparently that makes it possible for Verstappen to immediately leave should Helmut Marko quit, a scenario that could become more likely in the last few weeks following the investigation into Christian Horner.

Read more: Max Verstappen Red Bull exit clause revealed following Christian Horner investigation

FIA president reported to ethics committee

There were more bombshells in the form of Mohammed Ben Sulayem who, according to the BBC, has been reported to the FIA’s ethics committee.

The BBC reports that a whistleblower has told the FIA that Ben Sulayem allegedly intervened to overturn a penalty given to Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso at the 2023 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.

The penalty in question was 10 seconds given to the Spaniard for his mechanics touching his car before a previous five second penalty had been served.

As Alonso came into the pits to serve his penalty for failing to line up in the box at the start line, the rear jack was put onto the car too early and Alonso therefore did not correctly serve the initial penalty, handing him a further 10 seconds.

The penalty initially pushed Alonso back to P4 behind George Russell but was later overturned and the Aston Martin driver returned to the podium.

Read more: FIA president being investigated for interfering with race result

Alpine announce major technical shake up

All is not well at Alpine. With a car that started dead last and very nearly ended in the same spot in Bahrain, the mood is glum around Enstone.

In an effort to kick start their season, the French constructor has announced technical changes with chief Matt Harman being replaced by three people.

It is a move similar to what McLaren did last year, time will tell if it pays off for Alpine as well as it did for McLaren.

Read more: Alpine announce major staff revamp with two high-profile exits and three new technical directors

Jos Verstappen’s upcoming absence explained

Earlier in the day a report circulated online that Jos Verstappen had been banned from the paddock by Red Bull for the upcoming race in Saudi Arabia.

That though is not true with Max’s father instead competing in a race himself.

He is due to take part in the Rallye de Hannut – a long-planned engagement in his calendar – and still remains a welcome guest of Red Bull at F1 races.

Read more: The truth behind Jos Verstappen’s planned non-appearance at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix

George Russell denies Lewis Hamilton setup claims

Meanwhile down at Mercedes, we had the two drivers disagreeing over who exactly had the best setup.

Lewis Hamiton had claimed they went a different road to George Russell but the latter has now claimed their steps were “pretty similar.”

“Many people have said this,” Russell said.

“I don’t really know the big differences, to be honest, because as far as I’m aware with the cars we’re pretty similar.

“I don’t really focus too much on his set-up. Mine was actually more set up for the race than the set-up he ran. At least it was on Friday [for qualifying].”

Read more: George Russell openly questions Lewis Hamilton’s Bahrain Grand Prix set-up claims