Max Verstappen Stays Focused On Own Performance Amidst Team Turmoil

Max Verstappen Stays Focused On Own Performance Amidst Team Turmoil
Max Verstappen Stays Focused On Own Performance Amidst Team Turmoil

The public heat of the Red Bull unrest and obvious power struggle has cooled in Melbourne – but wild rumours continue to rumble in the background.

It was expected that, with his recent rally outings now complete, Max Verstappen’s explosive father Jos would be back in the F1 paddock this weekend in Melbourne.

But he’s absent – and Max was spotted laughing and smiling on the same table with the embattled Christian Horner at Albert Park, along with the triple world champion’s manager Raymond Vermeulen.

“But no one seems to be really happy with the current situation,” Matthias Janisch, the sports editor for Kleine Zeitung newspaper, insists.

“That’s why the next twist in the power struggle is probably only a matter of time.”

Indeed, that newspaper – and other top Austrian publications – are already reporting that Horner and Red Bull’s 51 percent Thai co-owner are shaping up to make Horner a ‘super CEO’ overseeing the entire energy drink company.

The plans may also involve moving Red Bull’s overall company headquarters from Salzburg to Thailand, with the benefit of lower taxes.

At the actual Formula 1 track, though, Verstappen moved to distance himself from the affair.

“As far as I know it has been managed in the right way so far,” the 26-year-old told a big gaggle of reporters in Melbourne.

“I have every reason to be happy. The car works really well. It is my best start to a season. The team has many great people who are constantly working to improve results. That’s what I focus on – performing,” the 2024 championship leader said.

He played down any talk of escaping his 2028 contract due to special exit clauses, after Toto Wolff said he would love to welcome the Dutchman to Mercedes.

“It’s always nice to hear that,” Verstappen said, “but it doesn’t have any impact on what I do. Toto and I had our little moments, but that’s normal when two teams fight for the championship. Respect was always maintained,” said Verstappen.

“But for me it won’t change anything.”

What Verstappen did stress, however, is that the “key people” at Red Bull need to all be kept together, amid escalating rumours that Adrian Newey is already in talks with Ferrari.

“Many people,” Verstappen insisted when asked to name the key people. “I am not going to name them because people already know.

“But if you have a good group of key people, it is important that they stay together and are happy.”

However, he generally played down the significance of the scandal and unrest that has dogged Red Bull’s entire year so far, describing the team as his “second family”.

“It happens that you argue in a family. But you can choose your friends but not your family,” said Verstappen. “I have always felt comfortable here at Red Bull.

“My intention is to stay until the end of the contract, because it would be a great story, even for me personally. To get to the end would basically mean having been part of a family and a team.”

As for team boss Horner’s troubles, and the wider Red Bull power struggle, he insisted: “I won’t go into details, because I don’t know more and it’s not like I want to know. That’s not my job in the team.

“I would like the conversation in the paddock to be a little more about what a great car we have, but I hope that comes little by little.”

Verstappen denies worrying about Red Bull’s 2026 engine

Max Verstappen has denied speculation that rumours about his Red Bull exit could be more about the all-new 2026 engine rules than the Christian Horner saga.

The F1 contracts of top stars like Verstappen, Lewis Hamilton and Charles Leclerc are all believed to contain certain ‘exit clauses’ – like the rumoured ‘Marko clause’ that would allow Max to escape Red Bull in the event Dr Helmut Marko departs.

But while the Austrian and Horner-Thai factions at Red Bull are clearly warring at present, powered in part by fiery comments made by Max’s father Jos, the triple world champion sounded calm about the turmoil in Melbourne.

That would tie into rising rumours that Verstappen may be eying the exit door not because of Horner, but because of his nervousness about Red Bull’s new powertains project in collaboration with Ford.

Honda, having powered all of Verstappen’s titles to date, is switching to Aston Martin for 2026, when the all-new and radical engine regulations will debut.

Last year, Horner sounded the alarm about the 2026 rules, admitting that early simulations at Red Bull showed that drivers will have to get off the throttle mid-straight in order to conserve electrical energy.

“I suppose he (Horner) is worried that his engine program is not working and maybe he wants to kill the regulations because of that,” Mercedes’ Toto Wolff said at the time.

Now, amid the Horner scandal and Red Bull power struggle, Wolff is openly wooing Verstappen to Mercedes. Former F1 driver Johnny Herbert told the Sun newspaper earlier this week: “I’ve heard they are getting quite close with the deal with Mercedes.”

So is Verstappen contemplating a move to Mercedes not to escape the Red Bull turmoil, but because he believes the German giant will repeat its earlier feat of acing the start of the most recent engine rules revolution a decade ago?

Verstappen was asked in Melbourne if he is worried about speculation that Red Bull Powertrains, despite Ford’s involvement, is struggling with its 2026 engine?

“If I had to worry about every speculation, I would also have to worry about whether I will still be alive tomorrow,” he is quoted as answering by the Italian newspaper La Repubblica.

“I talk to Christian and the people who work in the power unit department and there is no reason to panic, we are not in 2026 yet,” the Dutchman insisted.

“Yes, we are competing with established engine manufacturers and it will not be easy to beat them, but there are a lot of very good people working on our project.”

Want to save this information for later?

Comments

Subscribe
Notify of
guest
0 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

More in News

Si202310220022 Hires Jpeg 24bit Rgb

Stories Of The 2025 Season The Revealed Calendar Brings Us

Following a meeting of the World Motorsport Council, the Formula ...
Red Bull Internal Battle Could Hand Title To Ferrari

FIA And Formula 1 Announce 2025 F1 Season Calendar

The FIA and Formula 1 have announced the 2025 F1 ...
McLaren Hid Innovative 'Mini Wing' At 2024 Car Launch

Fleeing McLaren Chief On Way To Struggling Alpine – Rumour

Alpine might soon get a much-needed technical boost in the ...
F1 Australian Grand Prix 2024

Ice-Cream Venture Won’t Be F1 Distraction – Charles Leclerc

Charles Leclerc insists he remains fully committed to Formula 1 ...

Trending on F1 Chronicle