Another day, Another Controversy for Red Bull F1 Team

f1 bahrain grand prix 2024 practice
Another day, Another F1 Controversy for Red BullNurPhoto - Getty Images
  • It is believerd Red Bull is investigating the leaks that have kept the saga surrounding team principal Christian Horner front and center.

  • Team advisor Helmut Marko has not been implicated in any situation, but said today “the theoretical possibility always exists” that he could be suspended in the future.

  • Red Bull's Max Verstappen won the pole for Saturday's F1 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.

Three-time F1 champion Max Verstappen says Helmut Marko must remain at Red Bull Racing as the controversy engulfing the team took another turn on Friday.

It is understood that Red Bull is investigating the leaks that have kept the saga surrounding team principal Christian Horner front and center of Formula 1’s news agenda.


On Thursday, the female employee who made the allegations against Horner was suspended by Red Bull as the outfit continues to probe the matter.

Marko has not been implicated in any situation, but speaking to Austrian broadcaster ORF during qualifying at Jeddah perplexingly said: “I'll put it this way, it's difficult to judge, or let's put it this way, ultimately, I'll decide for myself what I do.”

He added that “the theoretical possibility always exists” that he could be suspended in the future before explaining, “I think it's such a complex issue. Again, we want peace in the team. This world championship will be difficult enough with 24 races and we have to concentrate on that.”

f1 grand prix of saudi arabia qualifying
Former racer Helmut Marko has played a vocal role at Red Bull since 2005.Kym Illman - Getty Images

Marko has been a key pillar of Red Bull’s leadership team since the squad joined Formula 1 in 2005. The 80-year-old has the role of motorsport advisor and has played an influential role in Red Bull’s driver decisions, particularly around its young drivers, including three-time champion Max Verstappen.

Marko has been a main ally of Verstappen since the reigning world champion joined Formula 1 in 2015.

“From my side, I have a lot of respect for Helmut and what we have achieved together, it goes very far,” said Verstappen.

“Also my loyalty to him is very big. I have always expressed this to everyone within the team, everyone high up, that he is an important part in my decision making for all the time in the future as well within the team.

“It is very important that he stays within the team...Including everyone else, it is a whole team effort it is very important that we keep the key people together because I feel like if such an important pillar falls away that is also what I have said to the team, that is not good for my situation as well. For sure for me Helmut has to stay.

“He has built this team together with (the late Red Bull owner) Dietrich [Mateschitz] from day one and he has always been very loyal to the team to everyone within the team, to make sure everyone would keep their positions from back in the day. It is also very important that you give the man a lot of respect for what he has done and that goes back also to loyalty and integrity. It is important he stays part of the team, also for me.”

Saudi Arabia Qualifying Update

Verstappen claimed another emphatic pole position at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix as he looks to continue his impressive start to the 2024 season.

Verstappen opened the 2024 campaign with victory in Bahrain and is seeking a ninth successive win on Saturday night, having claimed the final seven wins in 2023. The pole for Verstappen was his 34th, moving him past Alain Prost and Jim Clark for fifth all-time in the series. Next up in fourth is Sebastian Vettel with 57.

Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc will start alongside Verstappen on the front row on Saturday while 18-year-old debutant Oliver Bearman qualified an impressive 11th for Ferrari as he substitutes for the sidelined Carlos Sainz.

Sainz was diagnosed with appendicitis and underwent successful surgery on Friday.

F1 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix

Qualifying Results

  1. Max Verstappen, Red Bull

  2. Charles Leclerc, Ferrari

  3. Sergio Perez, Red Bull

  4. Fernando Alonso, Aston Martin

  5. Oscar Piastri, McLaren

  6. Lando Norris, McLaren

  7. George Russell, Mercedes

  8. Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes

  9. Yuki Tsunoda, RB

  10. Lance Stroll, Aston Martin

  11. Oliver Bearman, Ferrari

  12. Alex Albon, Williams

  13. Kevin Magnussen, Haas

  14. Daniel Ricciardo, RB

  15. Nico Hulkenberg, Haas

  16. Valtteri Bottas, Kick Sauber

  17. Esteban Ocon, Alpine

  18. Pierre Gasly, Alpine

  19. Logan Sargeant, Williams

  20. Zhou Guanyu, Kick Sauber