Martin Brundle poses key questions to Red Bull after ‘apparent recent civil war’ games

Henry Valantine
Max Verstappen, Red Bull, 2024 Australian Grand Prix.

Max Verstappen was the first retirement from the 2024 Australian Grand Prix.

With Red Bull in an “apparent recent civil war”, Martin Brundle believes these moments “must have destabilised the team” in a certain way.

Max Verstappen suffered his first retirement in 43 races at the weekend’s Australian Grand Prix with Sergio Perez coming home fifth after losing downforce on his floor, but conversations around the team have been ongoing all season.

Martin Brundle asks about Red Bull and ‘apparent recent civil war’

Australia was arguably the quietest weekend of the season so far regarding Red Bull’s off-track happenings, with the fallout following the internal investigation into team principal Christian Horner including public words of discontent from Jos Verstappen and a worry over a possible suspension from Helmut Marko.

These moments appear to have subsided for now, but the on-track performance at the weekend was the worst return from the team in some time.

Given that, Brundle wonders if, when the season gets going again at Suzuka, they will be able to pick back up where they left off as the dominant force in the field once again.

“Onto Japan, a track which should suit Red Bull well, and it will be telling how close Ferrari and others can get. Or even ahead,” Brundle wrote in his post-Australia Sky Sports column.

“Red Bull’s recent apparent civil war amongst key players must have destabilised the team, will that take time to filter through, or did we already see some effects of that in Australia? Or has peace broken out quickly enough for them to keep the flywheel turning and the dominant and winning momentum intact?”

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A part of the conversations surrounding Red Bull has been the sudden throwing of Max Verstappen’s future into possible doubt, despite his contract with the team until 2028.

While the three-time World Champion has confirmed his “intention” is to see out the full term of his deal with his current team, Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff is circling.

He confirmed over the weekend that Verstappen is Mercedes’ ‘number one’ target to replace Lewis Hamilton in the 2025 season, as the seven-time World Champion prepares to depart for Ferrari.

Speaking to Australia’s Fox Sports, Wolff said: “It’s the kind of relationship that needs to happen at a certain stage. But we don’t know when.”

Asked directly if the Dutchman is Mercedes’ ‘number one’ choice for 2025, Wolff confirmed: “Yes, I mean, you see what his performance levels are. But I wouldn’t want to discount the other ones too.

“I think we’ve got to look at ourselves and [ask] what is it we can do with this car. Then it becomes much easier, whoever drives the second car, it’s become much easier for George [Russell] because he has the potential of being a World Champion and so much more.

“It’s the team’s problem to solve really, rather than looking for a silver bullet with an amazing driver.”

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