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Christian Horner cautions Verstappen: "The team is greater than any individual."
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Christian Horner cautions Verstappen: “The team is greater than any individual.”

During the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, Max Verstappen, the world champion driver for Red Bull, implied that he may leave the team. In response, the team’s principal Christian Horner warned Verstappen that no one is above the team.

Following a chaotic week for Red Bull Racing, where they achieved great success on the track with Verstappen securing a dominant one-two finish alongside teammate Sergio Pérez, team principal Horner made it clear that the driver is just one factor in their success. This statement may have been a response to Verstappen’s comments about potentially reconsidering his position if the team’s director of motorsport, Helmut Marko, were to depart.

Horner commented on Verstappen’s victory in Jeddah by saying, “Max plays a crucial role on our team and is highly valued.” He also acknowledged Verstappen’s skill as a driver, but emphasized the importance of teamwork, stating that no individual is more important than the team when it comes to achieving successful outcomes.

The head of the Mercedes team, Toto Wolff, intensified the pressure on Red Bull by declaring that his team would eagerly take on Verstappen if he were to replace Lewis Hamilton, who is set to join Ferrari in 2025. “I would be thrilled to have him,” said Wolff. “It’s ultimately up to Max to make the decision, and there isn’t a single team on the grid who wouldn’t be ecstatic to have him driving for them.”

Marko, who played a crucial role in getting Verstappen to join Red Bull, had mentioned earlier in the week that he may be subject to an investigation and potential suspension. This was thought to be linked to leaked information regarding the investigation into Horner. On Saturday, Marko confirmed that the matter had been resolved and he would continue as a consultant for Red Bull. This confirmation came after Verstappen publicly supported him, stating that he would reconsider his future with Red Bull if Marko were to depart or be forced out. This was seen as a significant warning to the team.

The situation has seemingly been resolved. However, Horner refused to overlook it and reiterated his claims regarding the ongoing dispute surrounding Marko and Verstappen’s remarks during the race weekend.

He stated, “We are a unified team and no one person is more important than the team.” This team consists of more than 1,400 individuals from various entities, and each person has a vital role to contribute, regardless of their position within the team.

Given the current attention on Red Bull and the potential implications of any statements made, it is safe to assume that Horner’s remarks were carefully thought out.

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Afterwards, Verstappen tried to imply that the tensions that were evident this weekend, specifically between his father, Jos, and the team leader, could finally be resolved.

“I have consistently emphasized the importance of teamwork and maintaining harmony,” he stated. “This value is shared by all members of our team and I hope it will continue to be reflected in our actions. Despite the challenges, we have managed to stay united and focused, which has resulted in strong performances. Our team remains resilient.”

Source: theguardian.com