Christian Horner issues statement on Helmut Marko sacking

A meeting is rumoured to be scheduled to discuss removing Helmut Marko from Red Bull Racing at the end of 2023.

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner has quashed rumours that he wants to oust advisor Dr Helmut Marko, who has worked alongside him since the Austrians joined the Formula 1 grid in 2005.

It’d been reported that Horner is after more power at Red Bull, in return for giving the energy drink company’s bosses more support.

Brazilian media were under the impression that a meeting amongst Red Bull’s directors was scheduled to take place this week, to discuss Marko’s position in the team.

However, the 80-year-old has insisted that no such meeting is taking place and that only he will decide when to leave the company.

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Marko has a deal until the end of 2024 and is still enjoying what he does for the F1 outfit, whilst he’s also received support from three-time World Champion Max Verstappen.

It’s understood that Verstappen would be livid if Red Bull removed Marko, something the company are unlikely to do given that it’d unsettle their star driver.

Horner technically can’t fire Marko as he’s not an employee of the Red Bull F1 squad; instead, he comes under the Red Bull GmbH and reports to Oliver Mintzlaff, who replaced Red Bull co-founder Dietrich Mateschitz after he died.

Marko was a close friend of Mateschitz, with the entire company having undergone a power struggle since his passing during last season’s United States Grand Prix.

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Horner personally doesn’t understand where the rumours have come from that he wants Marko to leave, with him insisting that they’ve always had a “very strong” relationship.

The Red Bull boss has stressed that he sees no reason for Marko to depart and that the advisor can continue “for as long as he wants”.

“We’ve always enjoyed a very strong and open relationship, [and] of course, there are things that we disagree on now and again, but I think that’s healthy,” Horner told the Daily Mirror.

“We speak very regularly about all aspects. For Helmut, it’s slightly different to how it used to be since the passing of his friend and colleague Dietrich [Mateschitz] but he still has a very valuable role that he plays within the team and there is absolutely no intent or desire from me, or anyone within the team, to see that change.

“For as long as he wants to continue – he’s still a very spritely 80-year-old – I don’t see any change in the way that we work.

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“Roles evolve and the business has evolved so much since we first came into the sport.

“Operationally, I run this on a day-to-day basis and for any significant decisions, of course we confer, whether it be drivers or strategic calls.

“It’s a partnership that has worked for many, many years. Everybody has their role and function to play.”