Horner holds talks with Verstappen’s manager to ease tensions

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Christian Horner reportedly held a summit in Dubai on Monday with Max Verstappen’s manager Raymond Vermeulen to alleviate tensions in the Red Bull camp.

The reigning world champions are engulfed in a storm of controversy. Just hours after Verstappen secured a dominant victory in the season opening race in Bahrain, tensions between Horner and the Dutchman's clan escalated.

Last week, Horner was cleared by Red Bull of allegations of misconduct towards his personal assistant.

But a ‘dossier’ containing several dozen suggestive messages between Horner and the assistant, and anonymously emailed on Thursday to 147 members of the F1 paddock, propelled Horner's case back into the spotlight.

Late on Saturday, after his son’s dominant triumph in the Bahrain GP, Jos Verstappen added fuel to the fire when he publicly expressed his strong disapproval of Horner's continued presence at the helm of Red Bull Racing.

In a scathing interview with the Daily Mail, Max Verstappen’s father declared that Red Bull is at risk of “being torn apart” if Horner remains in his role, suggesting the team is on the verge of implosion.

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In an attempt to mend fences, Horner, accompanied by several senior members of Red Bull Racing, initiated a face-to-face meeting with Verstappen's manager, Raymond Vermeulen, in Dubai on Monday.

Notably, neither Jos nor Max were present, suggesting a possible attempt to manage the delicate situation without further inflaming tensions.

While the details of the discussion remain confidential, a source reported that the talks "went well," offering a glimmer of hope for a potential resolution.

Jos Verstappen with his son Max's manager, Raymond Vermeulen.

It has been reported that Jos Verstappen has opted not to attend this week’s Saudi Arabian GP in Jeddah. However, it has come to light that the race was never on the Dutchman’s agenda as he is committed to competing in a rally in Belgium next weekend.

Meanwhile, Horner has initiated legal action against British magazine BusinessF1 over “inaccurate’ fresh accusations contained in a lengthy investigative article published by the magazine.

On Monday, the magazine's website crashed due to an overflow of internet traffic following the article’s release.

In response, Horner's legal team at Harbottle & Lewis swiftly sent two legal letters, alleging that the magazine had published an "unlawful" and defamatory article that also violated privacy and data protection rights as it revealed the identity of Horner’s private assistant with whom he allegedly exchanged lewd messages.

Horner's legal representatives insisted on the immediate removal of the article, citing substantial harm caused to the Red Bull Racing team principal.

For the reigning F1 world champions the challenge is far from over. Sooner rather than later, the team and parent company Red Bull GmbH will face a crucial decision.

Can they navigate the massive internal conflict while maintaining focus and competitiveness on the track? Only time will tell if Red Bull can weather the storm and emerge stronger as a united team, or suffer a massive blow that could imperil its very existence.

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