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Christian Horner

Horner fires Verstappen warning after Marko pledge

Max Verstappen had hinted his future could lie away from Red Bull if Helmut Marko leaves the team.

Horner Red Bull Saudi Arabian GP
To news overview © XPBimages

Christian Horner insists that "no individual" is bigger than Red Bull and that the team does "not force people to be here" after Max Verstappen's comments about Helmut Marko.

Ahead of qualifying for the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, reports emerged that suggested Motorsport Advisor Helmut Marko could be suspended by Red Bull, with RacingNews365 understanding the reason to be after the team investigated potential recent media leaks.

After claiming pole position, Verstappen - who had up until that point been rather neutral in the ongoing power struggle at the team - gave Marko his full-throated support and hinted that if Marko left the team, his own future would be in doubt.

After winning in Jeddah, Verstappen was further pushed on the matter, and asked if he would seriously consider walking away from the team at the end of 2024 and give up a potential world title in '25.

He did not answer the question and remained coy as Horner suggested as many as 16 drivers are currently interested in the other Red Bull seat that is available for next season, with Sergio Perez's contract set to expire after the 2024 campaign.

"No individual is bigger than the team, and we have a phenomenal car, we've got one seat open for next year (that of Sergio Perez) and I've probably got 16 drivers desperate to be in that car next year," Horner told media including RacingNews365.

"We all have a common interest, which is the performance of the team, and the team comes first for every single member from the very top to the very bottom.

"Without the team working in absolute harmony, it is impossible to achieve performances like this, but if an individual doesn't want to be in the team, we don't force people to be here.

"The people here, they work in this sport and this team because they want to be here because they're passionate about what they do.

"That passion enables us to deliver not average results, but exceptional results - and it is that passion and commitment by every member that is the DNA of Red Bull Racing.

"That will continue not just this week, not next week, but to continue what we've done for 20 years for the next 20 years."

Will Max Verstappen really decide to leave Red Bull? Let us know in the comments and by voting in the poll below!

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