Helmut Marko hints at Red Bull suspension after Saudi Arabian GP

Max Verstappen has been linked with a move to Mercedes as the fallout continues from Christian Horner's investigation

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As rumours continue to swirl around the future leadership of Red Bull, Helmut Marko has admitted he could be suspended after the 2024 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix due to a fresh Red Bull investigation.

While team boss Christian Horner was cleared of any wrongdoing by an inquest into allegations of ‘inappropriate and controlling behaviour’ and his accuser has been suspended, Marko is now facing scrutiny over leaks that have emerged from Red Bull throughout the saga.

There’s reportedly been a power struggle between Marko and the team principal since the death of Red Bull co-founder Dietrich Mateschitz in 2022 and among the leaks from Horner‘s investigation was a bombshell Google Drive folder of messages allegedly sent between him and a female team employee.

“That theoretical possibility exists,” Marko told Austria broadcaster ORF, when asked if he’s facing suspension. “How shall I put it? It is difficult to explain, but in the end I decide what I will do.

“It is such a complex issue. And again, we want peace in the team and we want to see it. This world championship will be difficult enough with 24 races and we have to concentrate on that.”

Verstappen’s ‘Marko clause’

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner talks with star driver Max Verstappen in the garage during free practice ahead of the 2024 Saudi Arabian GP | Mark Thompson/Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

Max Verstappen‘s father Jos is already absent from the Red Bull camp in Jeddah after a row with Horner that culminated in him publicly calling for the beleaguered team principal – who continues to deny all allegations – to step down.

That sparked new rumours that Verstappen could leave Red Bull if Horner stays, and it’s thought his representatives met with Mercedes after the 2024 Bahrain GP to discuss the possibility of a move into the seat vacated by Lewis Hamilton for 2025.

Verstappen is contracted to Red Bull until 2028 but reportedly has a clause in that deal allowing him to leave if Marko – who first signed him to the team as a junior – also departs.

“Max is definitely the strongest asset, there are no faster drivers at the moment,” Marko added. “Losing him, that would be a huge loss. Also for the mechanics and engineers, who all strive to work for Max.”

Adam Dickinson
Adam Dickinson
An international multi-award-winning journalist, Adam Dickinson has written for Total-Motorsport.com since June 2022 and also contributes to TNT Sports, Eurosport and the Rugby Paper. He's also had articles published in the Daily Telegraph and several local newspapers, and previously worked for Last-Lap.co.uk and FeederSeries.net in motorsport and graduated with a First-Class Journalism Degree from the University of Sheffield having also studied in Oklahoma. Adam started watching F1 by accident in 2007, catching the last race in Indianapolis, and attended his first race as a journalist at the 2023 British Grand Prix.
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