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Jos Verstappen: Red Bull F1 team will “explode” if Christian Horner stays as team principal

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LA Post: Jos Verstappen: Red Bull F1 team will “explode” if Christian Horner stays as team principal
AP
AP
March 03, 2024

The Red Bull Formula One team will “explode” if Christian Horner stays on as team principal, according to Jos Verstappen, the father of three-time F1 champion Max Verstappen.

The F1 spotlight has been almost entirely on Horner in the days leading up to the new season, over his alleged behavior toward a team employee.

“There is tension here while he remains in position,” Jos Verstappen told British newspaper the Daily Mail after his son won Saturday's season-opening race in Bahrain. “The team is in danger of being torn apart. It can't go on the way it is. It will explode. He (Horner) is playing the victim, when he is the one causing the problems.”

On Wednesday, the team’s parent company dismissed a complaint of alleged misconduct by Horner toward a team employee. A day later during practice for the Bahrain Grand Prix, a file alleged to contain evidence against Horner — including alleged WhatsApp message exchanges — was emailed to nearly 200 people in the F1 paddock, including Liberty Media, F1, the FIA, the other nine team principals and multiple media outlets.

The authenticity of the file, which was sent from a generic email account, has not been verified by The Associated Press.

Jos Verstappen, a former F1 driver who was Michael Schumacher’s teammate when they raced at Benetton, has been pointed to as a potential source of the file by some F1 insiders but he firmly denied it.

“That wouldn't make sense," the 51-year-old Dutchman told the Daily Mail. "Why would I do that when Max is doing so well here?”

Horner has denied wrongdoing and said in a statement issued Thursday that he would not “comment on anonymous speculation" concerning the file.

Reacting to the ongoing controversy, the president of Formula 1’s governing body told the Financial Times that the controversy around Horner is damaging the sport, but that the FIA won’t conduct its own inquiry unless it receives a complaint.

FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem said any complaint lodged with its compliance officer would be investigated but it had not received one related to Horner’s situation.

“It’s damaging the sport,” Ben Sulayem told the newspaper, which added that he was speaking Friday after a meeting with Horner. “This is damaging on a human level.”

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AP auto racing: https://apnews.com/hub/auto-racing

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