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Sports

Red Bull will 'explode' if Horner stays: Jos Verstappen

Agence France-Presse
Red Bull will 'explode' if Horner stays: Jos Verstappen
Red Bull Racing team principal Christian Horner (R) speaks while waiting for the start of the Bahrain Formula One Grand Prix at the Bahrain International Circuit in Sakhir on March 2, 2024.
Photo by ANDREJ ISAKOVIC / AFP

LONDON, United Kingdom -- Jos Verstappen, the father of three-time reigning Formula 1 world champion Max Verstappen, has claimed that the Red Bull team will "explode" if team boss Christian Horner, recently cleared of charges of "inappropriate behaviour" towards a female employee, remains in his job.

"There is tension here while he (Horner) remains in position," the former Dutch Formula One driver told the British newspaper Daily Mail in Sakhir, a few hours after his son's triumph at the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix on Saturday (Sunday, Manila time.)

"The team is in danger of being torn apart. It can't go on the way it is. It will explode," said Verstappen.

"He is playing the victim, when he is the one causing the problems."

Red Bull announced on Wednesday that Horner had been cleared of alleged inappropriate behaviour following an internal investigation into complaints against him, which he has consistently denied.

But the sending, shortly afterwards, of an anonymous e-mail, containing WhatsApp messages allegedly written by Horner, to journalists, motor sport officials and rival teams, reignited the affair.

Jos Verstappen rejected notions which have been circulating that he played any part in the allegations which surfaced originally in Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf.

"That wouldn't make sense. Why would I do that when Max is doing so well here?" he said.

Several teams denounced a lack of transparency during the internal investigation.

Horner, who was accompanied by his wife Geri Halliwell in Bahrain in a public show of support, reiterated after Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez claimed a Red Bull one-two in the season-opener that the team was united.

"A one-two finish like this is the optimum and you don’t get that without being absolutely united, having a strong team and great support from partners and shareholders," he said.

"You don’t achieve this without being united."

Asked by Sky Sports if he felt certain he had the backing of the Red Bull owners – including majority shareholder Chalerm Yoovidhya who was with him in Bahrain -- and was sure he would be at next weekend’s Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, he replied confidently.

"Backing? Absolutely, yes. And I’ll be there. Otherwise I wouldn’t be here!"

The 50-year-old Briton has guided Red Bull to six constructors’ championship wins and seven drivers’ title triumphs since 2005.

Last year’s Red Bull car won a record 21 of 22 races as the team dominated.

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