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Formula 1 Austrian GP

Marko urges end to Red Bull’s internal F1 squabbles

Helmut Marko thinks spat between Christian Horner and Jos Verstappen is an unnecessary distraction

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing, Helmut Marko, Consultant, Red Bull Racing, Christian Horner, Team Principal, Red Bull Racing

Red Bull motorsport advisor Helmut Marko says the Formula 1 team cannot risk its on-track fortunes being disrupted by needless spats like that between Jos Verstappen and Christian Horner.

Fresh talk of an internal political battle within Red Bull erupted at the Austrian Grand Prix when Verstappen, the father of driver Max, spoke out against Horner in the wake of a bust-up over his involvement in a Legends Parade.

Verstappen spoke to Dutch media and said he had been forced to pull out of a planned demo run in an RB8 ahead of the Austrian GP because he believed Horner was trying to block him.

He told the website of Dutch magazine Formule 1: "I am completely done with him. It looks like a kindergarten. I could have driven, but I pulled out.

"I find this so childish of Horner. It says something about him, I think."

Horner himself later denied that there had been any veto from his side over the matter and suggested that the Verstappen Sr. situation was not of concern to him.

“You can't control everything in life,” he said. “I can't control relationships with drivers' fathers, but my focus is on the performance of our drivers and performance of our team. And that's where it will remain."

Jos Verstappen, Dr. Helmut Marko, Consultant, Red Bull Racing

Jos Verstappen, Dr. Helmut Marko, Consultant, Red Bull Racing

Photo by: Red Bull Content Pool

But amid an ever-increasingly tight fight with McLaren for race victories, Marko has said such friction cannot afford to take up people's attention.

Speaking to ServusTV, Marko said: “We've actually decided to concentrate on the sporting side and have enough problems there to sort that out.

“But I will say is that it [the argument] is a private matter between Jos and Christian, and [one] that shouldn't really take place at all about such trivial matters as a show run.”

Marko said that with Red Bull’s advantage at the front of F1 having been chipped away in recent weeks, all the team’s focus had to be on what was taking place out on track.

“We must and will concentrate fully on the sport,” he said. “We have a very strong opponent in McLaren.”

He added: “The McLaren, at every track, with every temperature, with every type of tyre, is always fast straight away. So that will be a tough thing over the season.”

Wolff says Horner ‘babbling’

The stance of Jos Verstappen this weekend has again fuelled fresh talk about a potential team move for Max at some point, even though the Dutchman said he would remain with Red Bull in 2025.

Horner has long insisted that he saw no danger in Verstappen leaving the outfit, despite the overtures made by Mercedes boss Toto Wolff since the start of the season.

And he furthermore suggested that talk of a Verstappen move to Mercedes had been used as a ‘distraction’ move by the German manufacturer to divert attention away from its own competitive situation.

This is something that Wolff has strongly denied.

Asked about Horner's suggestion of this point in the Friday press conference at the Red Bull Ring, Wolff told Sky Germany: “I didn't even hear him say that. It's just stupid. He's babbling."

Wolff said, having been spotted speaking to Jos in the Austria paddock, that he had always got on well with the Verstappens – but there were still other factors that would ultimately decide future cockpits.

"There was always contact,” he said. “We live in the same place and have always got on well. You can be good with your neighbour and he still won't drive your car."

He added: “The most important thing is that we look at our performance. I believe that if we have a fast car, then fast drivers want to drive with us.

“Today we were three and a half tenths too slow. That's why we have to improve, then we'll also be a good harbour for a Max Verstappen. But we're not fast enough at the moment."

Additional reporting by Frederik Hackbarth and Markus Luettgens

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