Christian Horner ‘planning coup’ to oust Helmut Marko

Helmut Marko's preference for AlphaTauri's new team principal was chosen over Christian Horner's preferred option.

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner is reportedly “still planning the coup” to oust advisor Dr Helmut Marko, something he’s categorically denied.

Ahead of this weekend’s United States Grand Prix, it’s been rumoured that Horner wants more power over Red Bull’s F1 operations, including control of sister side AlphaTauri.

As well as this, he supposedly wants to get rid of Marko, who has been alongside him since Red Bull entered the Formula 1 paddock in 2005.

It’s all part of a reported power struggle at Red Bull, which has unfolded since the tragic death of co-founder Dietrich Mateschitz.

Want to work in Formula 1? Browse the latest F1 job vacancies

Mateschitz and Marko were believed to be close, although a board of directors meeting was suggested to be planned for this week to discuss the 80-year-old’s future.

This has been denied by Marko, who has stressed that he is contracted until the end of 2024 and will decide himself when it’s time to depart.

According to F1-Insider, a “civil war” has unfolded behind-the-scenes at the Milton Keynes-based team, despite their current dominance.

“Just being team boss at Red Bull is no longer enough” for Horner, F1-Insider reports.

Article continues below

Horner has spoken to the media and insisted that the stories about him wanting to get rid of Marko aren’t true, although F1-Insider’s report suggests otherwise.

“Horner had planned and is still planning the coup,” the report added.

Should Horner be planning a coup, then a monumental spanner in the works has already been put in place.

Max Verstappen is believed to have demonstrated his support for Marko, who he holds a strong relationship with.

It’s even been rumoured that the Dutchman would be furious if Marko were to be sacked, to the point where he could follow the Austrian out of the exit door.

Horner has tried to downplay the rumours and has praised his “very strong and open relationship” with the Red Bull advisor, who he recognises has supported his own journey.

“Without Helmut, I wouldn’t be in the position that I am today,” Horner told Mirror Sport.

“Like with the young drivers that he has given an opportunity, he also gave me that opportunity.

“We’ve always enjoyed a very strong and open relationship. Of course, there are things that we disagree on now and again, but I think that’s healthy.”

READ: Ferrari boss makes ‘lying’ claim while discussing Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz sacking

F1-Insider’s report also mentioned how Horner gave the energy drink company his support to sign Peter Bayer as AlphaTauri’s CEO; however, the Briton was eager for Mercedes’ chief of communications Bradley Lord to become the sister side’s new team principal.

Horner supposedly tried to gain the support of Red Bull’s 51 percent shareholders from Thailand to sign Lord, who has replaced Toto Wolff across the last two races whilst the Austrian underwent knee surgery.

Instead, ex-Ferrari race director Laurent Mekies was signed as Franz Tost’s replacement for 2024 and is believed to have been Marko’s choice.