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Verstappen Backs ‘Second Family’ Red Bull and Plays Down Mercedes Links

Max Verstappen Supports Team’s Handling of Horner Complaint.

(Photo: Michael Potts)

Formula One world champion Max Verstappen has backed Red Bull’s handling of a complaint against boss Christian Horner and said the saga has had no impact on how he feels racing for the team.

Verstappen started the season by winning both races so far, but those victories at Bahrain and Saudi Arabia have been overshadowed by unspecified allegations of misconduct against Horner by a female employee at Red Bull. Horner, who has denied the accusations, was cleared of misconduct, but the unidentified woman lodged an appeal after her complaint was dismissed, British media reported last week, ensuring the controversy has continued to rumble on in the lead-up to Sunday’s Australian Grand Prix.

Verstappen’s Focus on Racing

Verstappen said he did not want to be too involved in off-track issues because his role was to worry about performing in the car. “But from what I know everything is handled in the right way,” the Dutchman said in the Albert Park paddock on Thursday. “I’m not going into any further details from that side because I don’t know more than that,” Verstappen added. “And I also don’t want to know because that’s not my job or my task within the team.”

Red Bull GmbH, the Formula One champions’ Austria-based parent company, has not commented on the reports but said before the season that the accuser had a right of appeal. Verstappen, who has won the last three world championships with Red Bull, said the internal strife had no impact on his performance or comfort within the team, though he hoped attention could turn back to their race results.

Red Bull’s Unity and Performance

“For me, all the things that have been going on, it’s very easy to jump back in the car and perform,” he said. “There are so many great people also in the garage, for example. That has never changed … as you can see [from] results that we’ve had as a team. Would we have liked to talk more about our car? Probably, yes. But we just try to keep on working on the performance and to keep winning.”

Verstappen’s father, Jos, a former F1 driver, said after Bahrain that Red Bull risked being torn apart if Horner stayed in charge. Those comments triggered fears his son may look elsewhere from 2025 despite his contract running to 2028. Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff said he would love to have Verstappen on his team, with Lewis Hamilton departing for Ferrari next season. Responding on Thursday, Verstappen did not rule out a move to Mercedes in the long term but said he was comfortable at his “second family” Red Bull.

Future Prospects and Team Loyalty

“I can understand,” Verstappen said of Mercedes’ interest. “It is always nice to hear that. Toto and I have had our moments. That is normal between two teams battling for the championship, but the respect has always been there. From my side, it doesn’t change anything. I don’t know what will happen after 2028 if I will stay in F1, continue, or sign a new deal [with Red Bull]. But that is why I signed the deal in the first place. I am happy within the team, and it is my intention to be here in the end.”

Commitment to Red Bull’s Success

Verstappen, who will equal his record of 10 straight wins with another victory this weekend, opened the door to sensationally quitting Red Bull if motorsport adviser Helmut Marko was forced out on the eve of the race in Saudi Arabia two weeks ago. Verstappen continued,

“It is very important that we try to keep the key players in the team for a longer period of time because that is where the performance is, and if I didn’t perform, I wouldn’t be sitting here. For me, it is a second family. In a family, there might sometimes be disagreements. You cannot choose your family, but you can choose your friends. A lot of people have contributed to the success of this team from the start, and that has to be respected. It is important to keep them together, happy and in the same roles. But we just focus on the performance. I would like the chat to be about the great car that we have. Hopefully, that will come slowly.”

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