Horner Slammed As McLaren-Red Bull Battle Heats Up

Zak Brown & Christian Horner
Zak Brown & Christian Horner

Zak Brown has added heat to the developing 2024 title battle between defending world champion Max Verstappen and McLaren charger Lando Norris.

George Russell won a week ago in Austria after Verstappen and Norris’ highly-contentious crash, but the Mercedes driver admits they are the duo to beat at Silverstone once again.

“I think Lando and Max are probably going to be the two guys out in front,” said Russell.

Norris, 24, was fastest in both practice sessions at Silverstone on Friday, even if the points gap between his tally and championship leader Verstappen’s is a significant 81.

Red Bull F1 advisor Dr Helmut Marko insists he’s not too worried about Verstappen’s pace yet.

“We lose too much in the slow corners,” he admitted to Austrian broadcaster ORF. “We’re still good, but not at Norris’ level.

“The long run was strong but for qualifying, we still have to dot the i’s and cross the t’s. If we had used the soft tyre at the same time as Norris, the difference would have been one or two tenths in favour of the McLaren.”

Off the track, despite Norris and Verstappen having reconciled their friendship after the Austrian clash last Sunday, it was McLaren CEO Zak Brown re-injecting heat into the inter-team rivalry.

The American slammed his Red Bull counterpart Christian Horner for not running a team that advised Verstappen to back off his defensive aggression during the battle with Norris.

“Until someone tells Max, ‘Hey, that’s against the regulations’, he’s not going to know any different,” Brown said.

“I’m disappointed that at such a great team like Red Bull, the leadership almost encourages it if you listen to what was said on the radio.

“I think we all need to have respect for regulations, and we’ve seen there be a lack of respect (at Red Bull),” he continued. “Whether it’s financial regulations or sporting, issues with fathers and things of that nature, I just don’t think that’s how we need to go racing.”

When asked if he will take his gripes directly to Horner, Brown answered: “That’s the FIA’s role. I don’t really have any interest in speaking with Christian.”

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