Max Verstappen's dad 'backs out of Saudi Arabia GP' with Red Bull tensions blazing amid Christian Horner saga

Max Verstappen's dad 'backs out of Saudi Arabia GP' with Red Bull tensions blazing amid Christian Horner saga

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Jack Otway

By Jack Otway

Published: 04/03/2024

- 11:30

Updated: 04/03/2024

- 12:07

The team insist they are united despite the chaos behind the scenes

Jos Verstappen has decided to 'back out' of this weekend's Saudi Arabia Grand Prix after publicly criticising Christian Horner, according to reports.

The 51-year-old said over the weekend that Horner had been 'playing the victim', while also calling for the Red Bull team principal to leave the Fornula One side.

Horner continues to deny allegations of misconduct after being cleared by Red Bull last week and said 'absolutely' when asked if he'd be in charge for the weekend's upcoming race.

Now, according to ESPN, Jos won't be attending the event in the Middle East - having opted to 'back out' of the race while tensions boil over at Red Bull behind the scenes.

Jos Verstappen

Max Verstappen's father, Jos, is set to miss the Saudi Arabia Grand Prix amid Christian Horner chaos


He has apparently made the decision due to the 'narrative starting to shift towards him'.

Jos has been a regular in the F1 paddock over the years, with his son Max Verstappen dominating the sport.

Verstappen has won the last three Formula One titles and impressed in Bahrain on Saturday, cruising to victory in the first race of the new season ahead of Sergio Perez and Carlos Sainz Jr.

The report says Verstappen has been 'left in the position of needing to choose between his father and the head of the team'.

It has been claimed elsewhere that the Dutch driver privately supports his father following Jos' brutal comments on Horner.

And F1 sources say this feeling has been 'growing within the team for a while'.

Jos decided to criticise Horner in an interview with the Daily Mail, rocking those associated with the sport in the process.

He said: "There is tension here while he remains in position.

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

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

Jos made the comments after he'd reportedly had a 'blazing row' with Horner following qualifying on Friday.

Horner insists he has the support of key figures at Red Bull at a time when alleged text and WhatsApp messages have been leaked.

He is yet to confirm or deny whether the material is genuine after an email was sent around to 149 figures associated with F1, though did say they'd been sent by an 'anonymous source'.

This included journalists and other team principals.

Horner is, however, confident of staying in charge of Red Bull for the race in Saudi - with the 50-year-old confirming his stance over the weekend.


Christian Horner

Christian Horner continues to deny allegations of misconduct with the Red Bull chief continuing to work as normal


"Yes, absolutely. I wouldn't be here otherwise," he said when asked if he'd be at the big event in Jeddah.

He added: "We have got tremendous support, tremendous partners and great shareholders behind us as well.

"You don't achieve this kind of result by not being united.

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

"And my focus is going racing, winning racing and doing the best I can.

Max Verstappen Jos

Max Verstappen's future at Red Bull is up in the air after his father Jos publicly criticised Christian Horner


"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."

Verstappen, meanwhile, could leave Red Bull after his father's criticial comments on Horner.

It was claimed over the weekend that Jos has confided in friends that his son will leave Red Bull 'if he has to'.

Horner does have the backing of some key figures at the F1 side, however, including majority shareholder Chalerm Yoovidhya.

Horner and Yoovidhya stood together in Bahrain as Verstappen continued his dominance, with the Dutch driver laying down a big marker in the process.

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