Max Verstappen: Christian Horner’s row with my dad could have been avoided

Max Verstappen launched a thinly-veiled dig at Red Bull team principal Christian Horner, claiming the latest row with his father, Jos, could have been avoided.

Jos Verstappen had been set to drive the Red Bull machine which carried Sebastian Vettel to the world championship in 2012 ahead of the team’s home race in Austria on Sunday.

But Jos Verstappen, 52, withdrew from the legends’ parade after he claimed that Horner did not want him to take part.

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner
Red Bull team principal Christian Horner (David Davies/PA)

Horner denied he vetoed Jos Verstappen’s participation, although it is understood the team principal, 50, questioned internally why he was representing Red Bull.

Jos Verstappen is making only his second appearance in the paddock since he said at the season-opening round in Bahrain that Red Bull would “explode” if Horner remained in his post.

Max Verstappen held off Oscar Piastri and Lando Norris to win Saturday’s 23-lap sprint race in Spielberg, and was asked if the public spat between his father and boss was affecting him.

“It is not nice, not for myself, not for my dad, not for Christian, and not for the team,” said Verstappen, 26.

“You don’t want these things to happen. My dad has been quite clear about the reasons behind it and I can understand his opinion.

Max Verstappen, left, with his father Jos Verstappen
Max Verstappen, left, with his father Jos Verstappen (David Davies/PA)

“He gets asked to drive the car and finds out he is not wanted. My dad doesn’t care about driving it, but he got asked if he could do it for the Dutch fans at Red Bull’s home track.

“So, I understand it, but I am here to focus on the performance. I want a good relationship with everyone. But this scenario could have been avoided.”

Max Verstappen is under contract at Red Bull until 2028, and, although Mercedes have made him their number one target to replace Ferrari-bound Lewis Hamilton, he insisted that he has no immediate plans to turn his back on the world champions.