Brown: Red Bull now a ‘toxic environment’ with more to come

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McLaren boss Zak Brown believes a “toxic environment” is still brewing within the Red Bull team, potentially impacting future sponsorship and talent acquisition for the championship leading outfit.

The Milton Keynes-based outfit was rocked earlier this season when team principal Christian Horner
faced an internal investigation into inappropriate behavior allegations.

While the Briton was eventually exonerated of any wrongdoing, the situation drew public criticism, with Max Verstappen's father, Jos, expressing concerns about the team's stability with Horner at the helm.

The melodrama appeared to subside but was revived last month when Red Bull’s design genius, Adrian Newey, announced his departure from the team, with events involving Horner reportedly largely fueling his decision.

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At last month’s Miami Grand Prix, Brown admitted to not being surprised by Newey’s decision “given everything that’s gone on”. He also foresaw “more dominoes to fall”.

Speaking recently on Bloomberg’s Hot Pursuit podcast, Brown reiterated his view on Red Bull’s state of affairs, warning against the consequences, internal and commercial, potentially facing the championship winning squad and suggesting that more disruption is likely coming.

“Red Bull is a pretty toxic environment with everything that’s been going on,” Brown said. “There is more to come.

“Adrian Newey’s leaving is a big deal, because I think a lot of people who are probably there because they wanted to work alongside Adrian Newey.

“I already made the comment that there are some CVs flying around. And there always are CVs flying around but you can see a higher level of discomfort there.

“I think it’s harder for them in the future with what’s kind of going on with the situation for sponsors. They look at who they are associated with, what do they stand by. That’s a tricky situation.

“Then the whole Verstappen drama. Will he stay? Will he go? He’s got a contract. You’ve seen his father be very outspoken.”

Race winner Max Verstappen (NLD) Red Bull Racing RB20 celebrates at the end of the race. 09.06.2024. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 9, Canadian Grand Prix, Montreal, Canada, Race Day. -, EMail: © Copyright: Bearne / XPB Images

Red Bull currently leads F1’s Constructors’ standings with a 49-point margin over Ferrari while Max Verstappen – a six-time winner already this season – enjoys a comfortable 56-point lead in the Drivers’ championship.

“How can you ever count them out?” Brown continued. “It’s an unbelievable team but that’s a team that in my mind isn’t on a strong footing right now to where they’ve been in the past.”

“If I look at who has the best path of visibility and momentum right now, it’s Ferrari and McLaren. Things can change quickly though, so we have to keep both feet on the ground.”

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