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Zak Brown

Brown fires latest Red Bull shot: 'It's a pretty toxic environment'

McLaren CEO Zak Brown has fired a recent shot at Red Bull's team environment and the prospect of Max Verstappen leaving.

Verstappen Horner
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Red Bull's current environment has been described as "pretty toxic" by McLaren CEO Zak Brown, who believes the outfit's recent troubles are not over just yet. 

Despite leading both championships, Red Bull has endured a challenging start to 2024 both on the circuit and away from it. 

On the track, they have seen its advantage reduced significantly by McLaren and Ferrari, with both chasing outfits having claimed victories this season.

Away from the circuit, the Milton Keynes-based side has had to deal with the alleged inappropriate behaviour investigation into team principal Christian Horner, something which he was cleared of having done, and more recently Adrian Newey leaving the team.

Brown recently discussed Red Bull's issues on Bloomberg's Hot Pursuit podcast, with him believing  the team's issues are not concluded yet.

"Red Bull is a pretty toxic environment right now," Brown said. "There is more to come. 

"Newey's departure is an important one, because I think a lot of people at Red Bull started working with him. I already mentioned that there were resumes circulating. 

"That happens all the time, but you see a higher level of discomfort. I also think that in the future it will be more difficult with sponsors, because they are going to examine carefully what they are associated with. That's a tricky situation."

Verstappen situation

The McLaren boss was also quick to point out the unknowns surrounding Verstappen's future. 

Verstappen is contracted to Red Bull until the end of 2028 but some have suggested he could depart prior to that. 

With everything that has gone on recently behind-the-scenes at Red Bull, particularly with Adrian Newey leaving, Brown believes the side have weakened. 

"You have the whole Verstappen drama. Is he staying or is he leaving? Max has a contract, only his father is pretty outspoken," added Brown. 

"Red Bull is a great racing team, but destabilised. You can see that with Newey leaving. However, you can never erase them. 

"As I said, they are an incredible team, just by my reasoning, they are not as strong as they used to be. If I look at who has the best path of visibility and momentum right now, it's Ferrari and McLaren. Things can change quickly though, so we have to keep both feet on the ground."

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