Marko, Horner power struggle breaks out at Red Bull

Tue, 17 October 2023, 08:00

Oct.17 (GMM) Notwithstanding Red Bull’s utter dominance of Formula 1 at present, there are rumblings of a power struggle within the energy drink owned team’s upper ranks.

Rumours suggest that Red Bull Racing boss Christian Horner is at odds with the team owner’s powerful F1 consultant Dr Helmut Marko, 80.

A report by the Brazilian broadcaster Globo alleges that Marko is clashing behind the scenes not only with Horner, but also Red Bull’s company CEO Oliver Mintzlaff.

“In the past, there was this rumour that Alpha Tauri would be sold,” former F1 driver Ralf Schumacher told Sky Deutschland.

“But the sale was then prevented from Salzburg because it was a wish of the late Dietrich Mateschitz. Then it was decided that more support was needed,” the German said.

“Christian Horner then took that as an opportunity to say ‘if I have to support (Alpha Tauri) more, I also have to have more influence,” Schumacher added.

It is suggested that Marko may find himself ousted from Red Bull altogether over the spat.

“The owner family was originally of the opinion that there wasn’t necessarily a need for two teams in Formula 1,” Schumacher continued.

“Now I get the feeling that Horner will take over the Alpha Tauri topic and make them as successful as possible to possibly sell the team at a high price at some point.

“That’s the intention behind it all.”

Schumacher continued to explain that amid the rumblings is another rumour that while Marko continues to support the Honda-backed Yuki Tsunoda, “Horner is of the opinion that Tsunoda is no longer the right driver”.

That would tie up with the fact that despite Japanese Tsunoda’s new deal for 2024, he is being linked with a move to Honda’s next F1 destination – Aston Martin.

“Dr Marko was always the link between Salzburg, the interests of the team, and also the interests of Didi Mateschitz. He was the advisor,” said Schumacher.

“Horner was hired by Dr Marko, but it was not without controversy in Salzburg. We cannot forget that the Thai shareholder has slightly different interests and apparently Horner is more oriented towards Thailand at the moment because he had a difficult life in Salzburg.”

Schumacher said it is in Red Bull’s interests to resolve the situation as quickly as possible because “unrest causes performance to suffer”.

Ralf also thinks the power struggle could explain the stories doing the rounds that Marko may soon be forced out of F1.

Schumacher warned: “Horner would be well advised not to put any further pressure on him. That wouldn’t end well for him. The connection between Dr Marko and (Max) Verstappen cannot be underestimated here.

“Dr Marko promoted him from very early on and is always on his side. We hear that Verstappen would not tolerate it (Marko’s exit) and would rather do without Horner,” he speculatd.

Ultimately, it could be Austrian Marko’s advancing years that could resolve the situation, as he may “no longer want the stress of travelling to race tracks all around the world”.

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