Max Verstappen sets record straight on Christian Horner and Jos Verstappen ‘conflict’

Oliver Harden
Max Verstappen faces the media in the Thursday press conference at the Monaco Grand Prix

Max Verstappen faces the media in the Thursday press conference at the Monaco Grand Prix

Max Verstappen has insisted his father Jos Verstappen is “not in conflict” with Red Bull team principal Christian Horner.

Three-time World Champion Verstappen has made a fine start to his latest title defence, winning five of the first seven races of the F1 2024 season to establish a 48-point lead at the top of the Drivers’ standings.

Max Verstappen provides Jos Verstappen, Christian Horner update

Red Bull’s performance on track has remained fearsome despite the off-track saga surrounding the team in the early months of this campaign.

An investigation into the conduct of Horner, the longest-serving team principal in F1, was dismissed on the eve of the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix, where Verstappen opened F1 2024 with a dominant victory from pole position.

In the aftermath of the race, however, Verstappen Sr called for Horner to resign from his position, accusing the 50-year-old of “playing the victim when he is the one causing the problems.”

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Mr Verstappen also warned that Red Bull would “explode” if Horner remained in situ, with the reigning Constructors’ Champions “in danger of being torn apart.”

He doubled down on his claims that Red Bull are “in danger of falling apart” after design guru Adrian Newey announced earlier this month that he will leave Red Bull in early F1 2025, claiming “it is important for internal peace that key people stay on board.”

The reported tensions within the team have raised the possibility that Verstappen could join Mercedes as soon as next season despite holding a Red Bull contract until the end of the F1 2028 season.

The 26-year-old has consistently remained tight-lipped on the situation, but defended his father days after Verstappen Sr’s post-Bahrain outburst, commenting: “He is always very outspoken. He is not a liar, that’s for sure.”

Speaking to British newspaper the Guardian, Verstappen has insisted that his father is not in conflict with Horner, hinting they merely have a difference of opinion.

He said: “My dad will always stay with me, of course.

“They are not in conflict. People can have different opinions but that’s a different story.”

Verstappen reiterated his desire for Red Bull to keep the focus on performance adding: “There are a lot of pillars involved. When I jumped to Red Bull Racing [in 2016], Christian is a pillar within that whole story.

“But it’s always really about everyone being back on track focused on performance.

“We have said it many times now, we are very focused on the performance side of things at the moment and hopefully we can keep that going.”

Verstappen’s comments come after reported earlier this week that negotiations between outgoing Ferrari driver Carlos Sainz and Mercedes have stalled as the team opt to keep tabs on Verstappen’s situation at Red Bull.

It is believed that Mercedes are prepared to wait until the closing weeks of the current season before deciding their F1 2025 driver lineup following seven-time World Champion Lewis Hamilton’s decision to join Ferrari on a multi-year contract.

Verstappen stands as the dominant force of F1’s current era, winning 49 of the last 73 races since the start of his maiden title-winning season in F1 2021.

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