Helmut Marko facing possible Red Bull suspension as off-track disruptions continue

Jamie Woodhouse
Red Bull's Helmut Marko on the phone in Bahrain.

Helmut Marko is on the phone.

The off-track saga at Red Bull risks seeing a huge new chapter written, with senior advisor Helmut Marko admitting that the “theoretical possibility exists” that he could be suspended ahead of the Australian Grand Prix.

Team principal Christian Horner has faced a barrage of questions from the media in Jeddah where Formula 1 is currently based for the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, after Jos Verstappen, father of Red Bull’s star driver Max Verstappen, publicly called for Horner’s exit in the wake of Red Bull dismissing a case brought against Horner by a fellow employee.

Helmut Marko could be suspended by Red Bull

And now it appears that Marko, who has served as the team’s driver programme boss and senior advisor since their formation, could be drawn into the dramas.

Austrian broadcaster ORF brought up a rumour to Marko that he will be suspended by Red Bull and therefore miss the round after Saudi Arabia, the Australian Grand Prix, Marko admitting that the “theoretical possibility exists” that this could come to pass.

With Marko adding that “in the end I decide for myself what I’m going to do”, the Austrian was asked to clarify therefore whether this is an order from Red Bull, or if the decision is coming of his own accord?

Marko gave little away on that front, but stressed that “calm in the team” is what Red Bull needs and wants.

“It is such a complex issue,” said Marko. “And again, we want calm in the team and we want to see it.

“This World Championship is going to be difficult enough with 24 races and that’s what we need to focus on.”

PlanetF1.com understands an internal investigation is underway at Red Bull GmbH – of whom Marko is an employee and not of Red Bull Racing – due to the various leaks of information made to the media since the beginning of the separate internal investigation into Christian Horner.

This includes an investigation into the email leak of alleged information that was sent last week to hundreds of senior F1 personnel, including the media, which set out to humiliate Horner – coming just 24 hours after Red Bull GmbH ended their investigation into the F1 team boss.

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Worryingly for Red Bull, there has been another key figure linked with an exit over the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix weekend, that being three-time World Champion Verstappen.

While Horner has said he is “certain” that Verstappen will see out his Red Bull deal which runs until the end of 2028, the Dutchman is yet to rubberstamp that and put the speculation to bed, with a shock switch to Mercedes mooted.

Marko stressed that Verstappen is the “strongest asset” that Red Bull Racing has and one which the team cannot afford to lose.

“Max is definitely the strongest asset, there are no faster drivers at the moment,” said Marko. “Losing him, that would be a huge loss.

“Also for the mechanics and engineers, who all strive to work for Max.”

Verstappen put his RB20 on pole for the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.

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