Wolff dismisses Red Bull theory as saga continues

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Toto Wolff has dismissed the idea of the ongoing drama at Red Bull having an impact on its on-track performances.

Whilst Red Bull has started the 2024 season with two one-two finishes well ahead of the field, it has come against a backdrop of a power struggle hitting the team as well as the ongoing saga around Team Principal Christian Horner.

An investigation into alleged inappropriate behaviour by Horner towards a female employee ended with the grievance being dismissed by Red Bull GmbH on the eve of the new season, but WhatsApp messages purporting to show communications between Horner and the woman were then leaked to influential F1 figures in Bahrain, including CEO Stefano Domenicali and FIA President Mohammed Ben Sulayem.

Max Verstappen’s father Jos then claimed that the team would “explode” if Horner, who denies all allegations, was not removed although clear-the-air talks were held after the Bahrain Grand Prix.

However, a fresh twist occurred in Saudi Arabia, when Motorsport Advisor Helmut Marko was reportedly set to be suspended – leading to Verstappen, who had been careful to be neutral, launching a full-throated defence of Marko, indicating that if the Austrian left the team, his own future would be uncertain.

Horner then said that no-one was being forced to stay at Red Bull, with the woman at the heart of the allegations also being suspended by Red Bull on full pay.

Despite the ongoing crisis off-track, Mercedes chief Wolff is adamant that Red Bull remains as strong as ever on it.

“Well, at the moment, it doesn’t look like they’re pushing that button because they finished first and second well into the distance,” Wolff told media including RacingNews365 in Saudi Arabia when asked if Red Bull was hitting the “self-destruct button.”

“These things can have a lag, but I think we need to concentrate on ourselves.

“What we need to do is to give our drivers the best possible car because it is not the drivers that are the problem.

“It is that our machine does not perform like we believe it should.”

Wolff also addressed Verstappen’s future – believing those around him help to drive a hard bargin.

“A driver will always try to be in the fastest possible car, that gives you the best chance of winning races and championships – and this is where Max is at the moment.

“But Max, Jos [Verstappen] and Raymond [Vermeulen, Verstappen’s manager], are very straight, sometimes uncomfortably straight.

“Fundamentally, a racing driver is calibrated to being in the best car.”

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