‘Irreparable damage’ fear with Red Bull saga ‘a long way from being done’

Michelle Foster
A split image featuring close ups of a menacing Max Verstappen and a worried Christian Horner

Max Verstappen and Christian Horner.

With a new chapter in the Red Bull saga seemingly coming daily, former Aston Martin strategist Bernie Collins says it feels as if the damage done is “irreparable”.

As the Red Bull juggernaut continues to obliterate its rivals on the track, Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez starting the team’s title defence with back-to-back 1-2 results, off the track the team is making headlines for all the wrong reasons.

‘It feels like irreparable damage has been done’

Last month team boss Christian Horner was investigated, and the claim dismissed, after a grievance was laid against him by a female employee, while in Saudi Arabia it was Helmut Marko who was in the spotlight.

He was also investigated by Red Bull’s parent company, Red Bull GmbH, with that relating to the numerous leaks in the Horner investigation, including a widely-released email that claimed to contain information relating to that.

And in the midst of it was the Verstappen family with Jos calling for Horner’s resignation while Max made it clear that if Marko was ousted, he could follow him out of the door.

It’s a saga that has blighted Red Bull’s start to the season, and it shows no sign of being resolved.

Collins, a former Aston Martin strategist who now works with Sky Sports, wonders if the Red Bull team as it stands with Horner, Marko and Max Verstappen, can continue as is.

“I think we’re a long way from this being done despite what people are telling us,” she said. “It’s not the united team that they would like to portray by a longshot.

“It feels like irreparable damage has been done. That’s what it feels like on the outside.”

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Red Bull warned they need to keep Max Verstappen ‘on side’

With Verstappen throwing his support behind Marko in the saga, even going as far as saying he could quit the team if Marko leaves, former F1 driver Karun Chandhok has urged them to keep the Dutchman “on side”.

Red Bull’s triple World Champion, who is already 15 points up on his team-mate in this year’s standings, is, as Chandhok put it, “a huge asset” for the team.

“I think they’ve got to find a way to keep Max on board,” he said. “He is such a powerful asset in that camp.

“You look at what he’s delivering in terms of the gap to Sergio Perez who is a very, very good racing driver, Max is a cut above and he has been for some time now. Max is a huge asset.

“So they’ve got to work out how important it is collectively to keep Max on side. Because the statement we heard from him there was, as you said, it felt like a bit of an ultimatum in some ways.”

Naomi Schiff believes the team has to work together to resolve the situation.

“I think it’s probably going to take a lot of work,” she said. “They’ve been trying to gather the peace since the beginning of Bahrain, but the story seems to keep evolving.

“As much as they come out and say, we want to focus on the racing, it seems like something keeps coming up, another chip keeps being added to sort of destabilise the structure that they’ve got going on there.

“So, of course, it’s going to take all the parties involved to come together. If they really are interested in the performance of the team, then you’ve got to find a way to create that harmony.”

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