Speculation continues to mount about an internal power struggle within the Red Bull Racing team, with Ralf Schumacher suggesting that Max Verstappen would rather see Christian Horner remain in his role than Helmut Marko.
Tensions appear to be on the rise, notably sparked by Marko’s controversial remarks regarding Sergio Perez, which led to an uproar and prompted Marko’s subsequent apology.
Reports from Brazil indicated that Horner might be using this controversy as leverage to push Marko out, as the passing of Red Bull founder Dietrich Mateschitz in 2022 left a power vacuum within the team.
Both Horner and Marko have denied any claims of a rift between them. Schumacher shared his perspective with Sky Germany, stating, “The story is that Verstappen will not tolerate Marko’s departure and would even prefer Horner to leave the team.
“Helmut chose Horner to lead Red Bull long before he entered Formula 1, and one has always been on the other’s side.”
Marko, often seen as a guiding figure for Verstappen, played a pivotal role in bringing the two-time champion to Red Bull.
It was Marko who was impressed by Verstappen’s extraordinary performance in the 2014 European F3 Norisring round, where he secured three race wins and two poles.
This led Marko to contact Verstappen’s father, Jos, with the proposal of placing the then-16-year-old driver in Formula 1 for the following season.
The apparent discord between Marko and Horner goes beyond the recent controversy related to Perez.
Marko is believed to have favoured Nyck de Vries at AlphaTauri and advocated for replacing Perez, while Horner held differing views.
Additionally, Marko supported a strong relationship with Honda, including backing Yuki Tsunoda at AlphaTauri, as the team prepares for their engine split in 2026.
However, Horner delayed confirming Tsunoda’s extension for 2024.
Horner also appeared to lean away from the sale of AlphaTauri, instead favoring consolidation of operations closer to Red Bull.
Schumacher weighed in on this issue, stating, “The sale of AlphaTauri was avoided in Salzburg because that was one of the last wishes of the late Dietrich Mateschitz.
“When Horner said that if he has to support Red Bull more, he should have more influence, I got the feeling that he wanted to buy AlphaTauri.
“His plan was to make it as successful as possible to sell it in the future for a good price.”