Jos Verstappen calls for Horner’s exit: ‘It can’t go on the way it is’


Jos Verstappen, the father of three-time world champion Max Verstappen, is urging Christian Horner to relinquish his role as team principal of Red Bull Racing, insisting the outfit risks being “torn apart” if the Briton remains at the helm.

On Saturday evening in Bahrain, the champagne of victory had barely cooled the burning embers of controversy engulfing Horner when the Red Bull team principal was thrust back into the spotlight and thrown under the bus by Verstappen Sr.

The Dutchman's attack on Horner has now upgraded the situation from a heated debate to a full blown crisis for Red Bull, but also for Formula 1.

Earlier this week, Horner was cleared of misconduct allegations following an internal investigation by Red Bull GmbH, the parent company of Red Bull Racing.

However, just a day after his exoneration, a vengeful maneuver aimed at pushing Horner out unfolded.

A ‘dossier’ including alleged personal text messages between Horner and a female employee of Red Bull Racing – purported evidence of Horner’s wrongdoing – was anonymously emailed to 147 members of the F1 paddock, including team bosses and media.

Horner refused to comment on the “anonymous speculation” but denied once again the allegation of misconduct.

While F1 and the FIA are monitoring the situation, the governing body has opted for a hands-off approach for now, although FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem has admitted that the case surrounding Horner is "damaging the sport", adding that he may intervene if a formal complaint is lodged with F1's legislator.

On Saturday, it was business as usual for Red Bull, with Horner overseeing the team’s crushing win in the Bahrain Grand Prix.

During the pre-race ceremonial, in a pointed and defiant public display of solidarity, Horner was accompanied on the grid by his wife Geri Halliwell. However, this inevitably kept the spotlight on Horner during a time when he might have preferred to keep a low profile.

Late on Saturday evening, tensions ramped up once again when Jos Verstappen, quoted by the Daily Mail, fanned the flames to the already heated situation as he demanded Horner’s removal.

“There is tension here while he remains in position,” commented Verstappen Sr.

“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.”

The significance of Verstappen Sr’s harsh words obviously lies in the close relationship between him and his son. As Max pushes for his fourth championship title, his father's public statement has the potential to impact the team’s morale and dynamics.

So far, the three-time world champion has given no indication that he may follow his father’s lead, having subtlety endorsed Horner’s presence when asked by the media about his boss’ situation after qualifying on Friday.

“I speak to Christian a lot,” Max said. “And also, of course, throughout the weekend here, he's fully committed to the team.

“He's also here for the performance, of course. Probably a little bit distracted.

“But like I said before, we just focus on the performance side of things. And that's how we all work together.”


Adding another complex layer of intrigue to the situation, whispers in the paddock have suggested that Verstappen Sr might be playing a part in the malicious efforts to oust Horner, perhaps in a bid to cut off unresolved tensions between the two men.

However, Jos has vehemently denied any involvement in such a move.

“That wouldn't make sense,” he said, quoted by “Why would I do that when Max is doing so well here?”

Only time will tell if Horner can weather this storm or if Red Bull will be forced to make a pit stop for a new team principal.

Can Red Bull maintain its winning streak while facing potential internal combustion? Can they navigate these turbulent waters and keep their championship aspirations alive?

Stay tuned…

Keep up to date with all the F1 news via Facebook and Twitter