‘Out of the question’ – Two big-name Red Bull departures ruled out by senior figure

Henry Valantine
Helmut Marko laughing in the Melbourne paddock with a prominent Mercedes logo alongside him

Red Bull have overhauled Mercedes as F1's dominant force, much to the delight of Helmut Marko

Red Bull GmbH managing director Oliver Mintzlaff has given a vote of confidence to both Helmut Marko and Christian Horner, saying of Marko that a move to Mercedes would be “out of the question” for him.

And for Horner, he remains “convinced” that the team will continue to succeed under his leadership, with an internal investigation having been dismissed against him earlier this year.

Red Bull MD rules out Helmut Marko Mercedes move

With Max Verstappen’s future with the team still being talked about in the media, despite his contract running until 2028 and him stating his desire to stay with Red Bull, that has not stopped Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff from saying the reigning World Champion is a target for him to replace Lewis Hamilton at the team next season.

With there being a reported clause in Verstappen’s deal that would allow him to leave Red Bull early if motorsport advisor Marko leaves, even with a potential move to Mercedes if both choose to leave together, Mintzlaff is adamant that will not occur.

“I think that’s out of the question,” Mintzlaff told German publication Bild when asked if Marko would move to Mercedes along with Verstappen.

“Helmut is closely associated with Red Bull and we have a lot to thank him for.

“He also showed the courage to entrust Max with a Formula 1 cockpit at the age of 17.”

And when asked about the current situation around Horner as team principal and CEO of Red Bull Racing, he is unmoved in his backing of the long-time team boss.

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“I am convinced of that,” he said when asked if the team can still have long-term achievements under Horner’s leadership.

“He only has the team’s success in mind and is a very good CEO.”

Questions had been asked of Red Bull following the announcement that Adrian Newey will be leaving the team altogether in early 2025, having already taken a step back from Formula 1 operations.

Mintzlaff thanked Newey for his service to the team, while explaining his faith in the remaining staff that they will be able to continue to build quick cars in his absence moving forward.

“Adrian has done a great job here over the years and played a big part in us winning 13 World Championship titles,” he said.

“It is of course a shame that he is leaving us, but we have discussed this in a very fair and respectful dialogue. What he leaves behind is not only a unique legacy, but also a structure that he helped to build.

“Of course we will miss him – also as a person – but tomorrow we will still know how to build a very fast Formula 1 car.”

It remains to be seen what impact losing Newey will have on Red Bull moving forward, with McLaren having only won one Drivers’ title since his departure and Williams having suffered a similar title drought since he left them in the 1990s.

With another significant regulation change on the horizon for the 2026 season, Red Bull are also taking the step of constructing their own power units for the first time.

Ford are getting involved in the project as partners, with work already ongoing in their Milton Keynes base to prepare a new engine in time for the 2026 campaign.

While it is a huge task to do so, the company’s managing director is hopeful the team can hold onto their place when the new cars come around.

“We want to continue where we currently are in 2026: at the top of Formula 1,” Mintzlaff stated.

“Of course, there is no guarantee, but while we have proven that we can handle major rule changes, other teams have not managed to close the gap to us for three years.

“Max will also have realised this and it makes me feel totally positive about the future. We haven’t just been preparing for 2026 since yesterday.

“Of course, building our own engine is a major task and challenge, but we are confident that we can master this step. This is the next stage in Red Bull’s development.”

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