Max Verstappen tightlipped on Christian Horner but insists Red Bull can survive without team principal

Sam Cooper
Christian Horner and Max Verstappen

Christian Horner's future was decided by Red Bull GmbH following the conclusion of an internal investigation.

Max Verstappen repeatedly avoided commenting on the Christian Horner investigation but was confident Red Bull would continue to function should the team principal be forced to step away.

Editor’s note – This story was published before the results of the investigation into Horner were published. The Red Bull boss has since been cleared of all charges.

Red Bull is conducting an investigation into Horner after a complaint was made from an employee but with a few days until the first race of the season, the outcome of that investigation has yet to be revealed.

Naturally, the topic was prominent during F1’s first media day of the year and while Lewis Hamilton said it was “hanging over the sport”, Verstappen was keen not to weigh in on the debate.

Max Verstappen avoids Christian Horner speculation

Verstappen was one six drivers put in front of the media but naturally as the only Red Bull representative, he faced his fair share of questions related to Horner.

The first asked whether it would affect his race this weekend after Horner himself admitted it was a “distraction” but the reigning World Champion was confident his performance will be undisturbed.

“It doesn’t,” he told media including PlanetF1.com. “I’m very focused on just the performance of the car, myself and hopefully it’ll just be resolved very soon.”

Verstappen’s hope for a quick resolution was a common topic throughout and when pressed on whether he “100% supported” Horner, he chose not to answer but instead put his trust in the process.

“It’s a whole team effort that everyone has to stick together,” he said. “Work towards more success and that’s why it’s important to get a result very soon.

“I’m trusting the process. That’s what’s happening right now. That’s the thing that I mentioned with it.

“But besides that, when you talk about performance, it’s of course very important that everyone sticks together.

PlanetF1.com recommends

Christian Horner investigation: Reported timeline for resolution emerges

Red Bull showing signs of ‘disruption’ amid Christian Horner investigation – Martin Brundle

“I do not want to get into [the investigation] because it’s not my case anyway and I don’t want to be involved with that.

“But as a team, we do trust that process and we just have to be patient because there’s no need to start saying things, start screaming things out loud. You have to be patient. I think I’ve learned that over the years anyway.”

As to whether Red Bull would see their chances of success diminish without Horner, Verstappen was confident that any impact would not be felt in the short term.

“I think he is very important, otherwise he wouldn’t be in that position for such a long time,” Verstappen said. “Let’s say if your team boss disappears for whatever reason for one or two races, not much is going to happen because everyone is in their role and they know what they have to do in the short term but it’s all about people management over time.

“Then of course, things will start to be different if you know one of the leaders starts to not be there anymore, but we’re not thinking like that.

“Like I said before, we just trust the process that we are in as a team, see what the outcome will be and besides that, at the moment everyone is just very focused on the performance here at the track and everyone is in a good mood and just excited to get going again.”

Read next: Christian Horner investigation distracts F1 attention ahead of Bahrain Grand Prix