Max Verstappen 'has been asked to back Christian Horner publicly' as reaction to father's rant revealed

Max Verstappen 'has been asked to back Christian Horner publicly' as reaction to father's rant revealed

WATCH NOW: Sports round-up with Christian Horner in the spotlight

Jack Otway

By Jack Otway

Published: 03/03/2024

- 18:53

The 26-year-old won the first race of the new season in Bahrain on Sunday

FIA chief Mohammed Ben Sulayem asked Max Verstappen to publicly back Christian Horner prior to Saturday's Bahrain Grand Prix, according to reports.

Horner was cleared of misconduct by Red Bull earlier in the week, with the team satisfied after an independent investigation.

Yet the 50-year-old has remained under scrutiny after alleged text and WhatsApp messages sent to a female member of staff were leaked.

Both Horner and Verstappen were all smiles on Saturday as Red Bull impressed in the first race of the season.

Christian Horner Max verstappen

Max Verstappen has reportedly been asked to publicly back Christian Horner amid chaos at Red Bull


Verstappen finished top of the podium, with team-mate Sergio Perez ending up in second ahead of Ferrari ace Carlos Sainz Jr.

On Sunday, Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf claimed Ben Sulayem had asked Verstappen to publicly back Horner.

And the BBC now claim they have 'independently verified the story'.

Jos Verstappen has launched a stinging attack on Horner and believes the Red Bull boss should leave his role as team principal.

And Jos has told the BBC that his son had seen his comments but did not say anything about them.

The Horner situation is one that needs resolving, and fast.

The 50-year-old is adamant he's done nothing wrong and expects to retain his job, with some feeling he's the pawn in a wider power struggle at the company.

Keeping hold of Horner could, however, seemingly cost them Verstappen in the long term.

It was claimed on Sunday that Jos has told friends his son will leave Red Bull 'if he has to' amid links to Mercedes.

The Silver Arrows have a vacancy for next season following the bombshell news that Lewis Hamilton will be joining Ferrari.

But it is unclear what will happen at the current moment in time, with Verstappen focused on adding to his total of three F1 titles.

Red Bull, for their part, have moved to downplay some of the internal conflict.

A spokesperson has told the PA news agency: “There are no issues here. The team are united and we are focused on racing.”

Horner has thanked wife Geri Halliwell for her support amid a testing time for the couple.

And the Red Bull chief also says he will be focusing on his wife and racing matters for the foreseeable future.

Christian Horner Max Verstappen

Christian Horner and Max Verstappen celebrated together after Red Bull dominated the Bahrain Grand Prix on Saturday


"Absolutely, absolutely," he said when directly quizzed on whether he expects to be Red Bull team principal for the rest of the season.

“I have the support of an incredible family, an incredible wife, an incredible team and everybody within that team.

“And my focus is on going racing, winning races, and doing the best I can.

“It was a day about starting the season in the best possible way. My focus is on this team, my family, my wife and racing.”

Addressing the alleged leak, he added: “I am not going to comment on anonymous speculative messages from an unknown source.

Jos Verstappen Christian Horner

Jos Verstappen has called for Christian Horner to leave Red Bull


“I am not going to comment on what motives whatever person may have for doing this.

“Obviously, it has not been pleasant with some of the unwanted attention, but the focus is very much on the cars and my focus has been on what is happening on track and the result (on Saturday) demonstrates where the focus is and we move onwards.

“There was a full, lengthy internal process that was completed by an independent KC and the grievance that was raised was dismissed. End of. Move on.”

You may like