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“I’m staying”: No suspension for Marko at Red Bull

“I’m staying”: No suspension for Marko at Red Bull
Helmut Marko rejects the allegations: “That’s absolute nonsense”
Image: (APA/AFP/GIUSEPPE CACACE)

The 80-year-old Styrian had a “very good conversation” with the responsible Red Bull managing director Oliver Mintzlaff on Saturday before the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, as Marko confirmed in the ORF interview. “The unanimous opinion is that I’ll stay. But we have to bring calm to the team,” emphasized Marko.

“Crazy, as Lauda would say”

The reason for the possible suspension was that Marko is said to have leaked various chat protocols and photos in the case surrounding team boss Christian Horner. “This is absolute nonsense. I’m really happy when I have my iPhone halfway under control. I haven’t seen this report or any of these chats. I deliberately stayed out of it,” said the man from Graz and spoke of a “general staff action”, to associate him with it. “Crazy, as Lauda would say.”

  • Also read: Verstappen on Red Bull power struggle: “If Mateschitz were still here, many things would be different”

It is now planned that Marko will fully support the record season with 24 races in his work with the Austro racing team. The talks with the engine supplier Ford, which is demanding clarity on the whole matter, are Mintzlaff’s job, said Marko. Marko did not want to comment on possible damage to Red Bull’s image in the “proxy war” between the Thai and Austrian sides of the company. “I’m responsible for sports. These possible effects, I hope they’re not there.”

“I’m very grateful for what Toto is offering”

When asked whether the team could fall apart during the current season, Marko replied: “I hope not. If we are all working towards the World Cup, we are busy enough and that should bring the appropriate calm.” He has also currently ruled out leaving for Mercedes together with Max Verstappen, even though Mercedes boss Toto Wolff expressed his respect for him on Friday. “I’ve read Toto’s comments. I’m very grateful for what he’s offering. But at the moment I don’t need to take advantage of it.”

On Friday, Marko hinted at his possible suspension in interviews. “The theoretical possibility always exists,” Marko said, but ultimately he would decide for himself what to do. Marko was a close confidant of the late Red Bull founder Dietrich Mateschitz and discovered triple world champion Verstappen. This strengthened his back. The Dutchman said every year that “everyone at Red Bull knows that for me, Helmut always has to be there.” And if not: “Then maybe we have a big problem in the team.”

Verstappen’s father fuels power struggle

Meanwhile, Verstappen’s father Jos continued to fuel the already escalated power struggle. Commenting on a closure demanded by Horner after his affair involving allegations of inappropriate behavior by an employee, Jos Verstappen told the British Daily Mail: “I think it’s a bit too late for that now. If that’s what he wants, fine. But I don’t think that’s possible.” He didn’t want to say much more; it would only cause problems, he emphasized.

  • Also read: Media: Red Bull suspended the employee who accused Christian Horner

But the problems have long been there; the power struggle between Horner and Marko has become a public mudslinging. It seems difficult to find a way out of the deadlocked situation without causing even greater damage. “I have already said that there will be problems if he stays,” said Jos Verstappen, referring to Horner. “I think it’s too late for Christian to say: ‘Leave me alone.'” But Horner has the support of the Thai majority owners of the parent company Red Bull, the Yoovidhya family.

“So I think he’ll stay until the end of the season.” In the same British newspaper a week ago, Jos Verstappen warned that the team could explode if Horner stayed. All the things that would happen would also have an influence on his son, said Jos Verstappen.

An employee’s complaint against Horner was dismissed by Red Bull after an independent investigation, before emails reached selected recipients in the paddock a day later with a link to files on the juicy matter. It is still unclear who sent these emails and passed on the information.

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