FIA President Ben Sulayem asked Max Verstappen to publicly back Christian Horner during F1 Bahrain GP weekend

Photo Credit: Red Bull Content Pool
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Co-Author: Chiara Martin

The saga surrounding Red Bull Racing’s Team Principal since before the start of the season is far from over and offers almost every day a new episode that engulfs Formula 1 in a cloud full of scandals.

This time new information has come to light regarding Christian Horner’s alleged inappropriate behaviour, dated February 2nd. According to information from, Red Bull had planned to allow Horner to exit the company without losing respect and no lasting damage would be done to his personal life and marriage.

For the second step, his departure could have been put down to “health reasons” in interviews.

However, Horner did not want to accept this and called in his lawyers, who intervened with Red Bull before the press release could be dropped.

Horner was adamant n having “an arbitration clause in his contract, which gives him the right to an independent investigation in the event of such allegations.”

Red Bull GmbH CEO of Corporate Projects and New Investments Oliver Mintzlaff and his team now found themselves in a pickle. The decision to sack Horner was already decided, at least in Fuschl. However, Horner’s lawyers threatened to file an injunction with the High Court in London if it had occurred.

“The matter had already lasted nine weeks […] and Mintzlaff came to the conclusion that two more weeks would make no difference. He was sure that an arbitrator would rule against Horner, as the evidence was overwhelmingly against him. Mintzlaff was of the opinion that Red Bull GmbH would not be able to keep Horner after what he had seen and read. He was appalled by Horner’s behaviour.”

However, the investigation was ultimately dismissed and Horner continued in his role.

The novel seems to have no end; Jos Verstappen has decided to step in and take center stage, first, by being photographed in a public meeting with Toto Wolff, and then, by expressing to the media that the circumstances at Red Bull “cannot continue this way,” and that “the situation is not good for the team and is driving people apart.”

According to Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf, the 51-year-old added: “He [Horner] is playing the victim when he is the one causing problems.”

On Thursday during FP2 in Bahrain, an anonymous source leaked alleged evidence against the Brit to the F1 CEO, FIA President and journalists.

Jos Verstappen was questioned about being responsible for leaking the documents. He denied it.

“Why would I do that? Max has a contract with Red Bull until 2028, is performing great, and feels at home here. I have no interest in that at all.”

That wasn’t all the information revealed on Sunday — a Sunday without racing action this time.

The Telegraaf in the Netherlands and BBC Sport reported that Mohammed Ben Sulayem — the president of the FIA — personally approached Max Verstappen to ask him to back Horner publicly. This didn’t materialise.

It’s yet another chapter in a drama that demonstrates nothing less than strong internal tensions at the World Champion team involving Horner, Jos Verstappen, and Helmut Marko, as well as between the Thai owners (51%) and Red Bull Austria executives (49% owned by Mark Mateschitz) in GmbH at the headquarters in Fulsch.

As the world around Formula 1 and the team is on fire, A Red Bull spokesperson stated: “There are no issues here. The team is united and we are focused on racing.”