Red Bull Team | Helmut Marko’s turn to be investigated

(Jeddah) Red Bull hoped to forget the tensions arising from the Horner affair on the track, but despite the new pole position won by Max Verstappen on Friday in Jeddah, the soap opera rebounded, because Helmut Marko is also the target of an internal investigation .

After team principal Christian Horner was cleared last week of accusations of “inappropriate behavior” made by an employee, who was suspended by Red Bull on Thursday, it is the influential historical advisor Helmut Marko who is now in turmoil.

“An internal investigation has been opened by the parent company Red Bull and targets Helmut Marko who is suspected of being at the origin of the leaks to the press in the context of the Horner affair,” indicated a source with knowledge of the file Friday to AFP.

Asked by the Austrian television channel ORF, Helmut Marko suggested that a suspension was not excluded.


Helmut Marko and Christian Horner, February 29.

“The theoretical possibility still exists. I would say it’s difficult to judge… let’s say that ultimately I will decide for myself what I do,” he said. “This is a very complex matter. Once again, we want peace in the team. This championship will be difficult enough with 24 Grands Prix and we must concentrate on that. »

During the second round of the season this weekend in Saudi Arabia, the world champion team intends to continue the momentum of the inaugural race in Bahrain where Max Verstappen won brilliantly ahead of his teammate Sergio Pérez.

The pole position of the Dutchman, three-time reigning world champion, and the third place of the Mexican on Friday during qualifying suggest a new double for the Austrian team on Saturday in Jeddah…. but it could well be overshadowed by internal tensions.

This new development comes only 24 hours after the announcement of the suspension of Christian Horner’s accuser, a sanction which is a direct consequence of the investigations carried out by the firm, this same source told AFP on Thursday.

“A complaint was made, it was closely examined and it was dismissed. From there, we have to move on,” Horner said at a press conference on Thursday.

Max Verstappen supports Marko

The husband of ex-Spice Girl Geri Halliwell, however, did not fail to return to the criticisms of Jos Verstappen, Max’s father, addressed to him just after his son’s overwhelming victory in Sakhir.

The 52-year-old Dutchman, himself a former F1 driver, claimed in the press that the Red Bull team would “explode” if Horner remained in office.

He spoke after the case was relaunched by the sending of an anonymous email – notably containing WhatsApp messages allegedly written by Horner – to journalists following F1, to motorsport officials and even to competing teams. .

Several teams had previously denounced a lack of transparency during the internal investigation. The boss of the Mercedes team, Toto Wolff, called for “more transparency” in this matter, while Zak Brown, CEO of McLaren, affirmed that “many questions remained unanswered”.

“I spoke to Jos (Verstappen) on Saturday after the Grand Prix. In everyone’s interest, we agreed to move on, to focus on the future,” Horner said on Thursday, hoping for a lull at last.

It only lasted a few hours and Helmut Marko was implicated. Because Max Verstappen, who has often linked his destiny at Red Bull to that of the former Austrian driver with whom he is very close, was not long in coming.

“I have always said in the team, to high-ranking people, that he was an important part of all my decision-making and for my future in the team, so it is very important that he stays in the team. ‘team. It’s important to stay united, because I think that if we lose such a pillar, it will be a big problem for the team and for me, so Helmut must stay,” insisted the Dutchman at a press conference.


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