'You Cannot Force Person To Be Part Of Group': Says Horner Amid Verstappen Exit Rumors

Monday, 11 March 2024 at 09:12
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In an interview following the 2024 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, Christian Horner described his relationship with Max Verstappen and what he would do if the 26-year-old wanted to leave.
Triple World Champion Max Verstappen made it clear ahead of the second race of the season that he intended to stay with Red Bull at least until his contract expires in 2028.
However, when Helmut Marko's future in the team was on the line, the Dutchman warned he might follow if Marko had to leave the team.
In the end, fortunately, it seems Marko won't be leaving, so there is no need for such extreme measures. But it is clear the situation in Red Bull is quite tense. As reported by motorsport.com, when asked about his relationship with the triple world champion, Horner said:

"It's absolutely fine. Max is working very well within the team, there is no tension, there is no stress, you can see how relaxed he is in the garage and in his relationship with all the team members, and the performances are there to be seen. We don't see any problems with Max."

Verstappen's performances were, indeed, completely unaffected. During the season's first two races, he recorded two poles and two victories. Asked how he would handle it if Verstappen were to leave the team, Horner responded:

"Look, in the end, they are situations that we find in many other aspects of life. You cannot force a person to be part of a group just for a piece of paper, if someone decides they no longer want to be part of this team you cannot force them to stay against their will, and this applies to all roles, which whether you are a pilot, a technician or anyone else."

"Being involved in a Formula 1 team like Red Bull Racing involves commitment and passion. Max has it, we've seen it, he's been here since he was 18, I don't have the slightest doubt about his commitment and his passion."