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Helmut Marko declines the position, leading to the emergence of a potential replacement for Christian Horner at Red Bull…



Red Bull’s preparations for the upcoming season have been thrown off course due to an internal investigation involving team principal Christian Horner.


Reports suggest that Jonathan Wheatley, the sporting director, is being considered as a potential replacement for Horner if he were to step down following the misconduct allegations.


Interestingly, Helmut Marko, a key figure in the team, has made it clear that he is not interested in taking on the role. The team had a remarkable year in 2023, dominating the Grands Prix and securing both the Drivers’ Championship and the Constructors’ Championship. However, their focus on the 2024 campaign has been disrupted by this investigation.


According to Dutch news publication De Telegraaf, team boss Horner is currently being investigated due to allegations of misconduct, which have been disclosed by AP to be connected to his assertive management approach.


Red Bull acknowledged the investigation in a statement, stating: “Upon being informed of specific recent allegations, the company initiated an independent investigation.


“This ongoing process is being conducted by an external specialist barrister. The company regards these matters with utmost seriousness and the investigation will be concluded as promptly as feasible. Further comments at this moment would not be suitable.”


A recent report from Auto Motor und Sport states that the concerned individuals will gather at the Red Bull factory in Milton Keynes on Friday for a hearing. The purpose of this meeting is to resolve the situation and conclude the investigation promptly, before the launch event on 15 February.


If the company decides that Horner should step down from his position as team principal, it is believed that Wheatley is the most likely candidate to temporarily assume those responsibilities. Given that the first race of the season is less than a month away, a swift decision would be necessary.


Marko, on the other hand, is not considered as a potential replacement for Horner. According to Motorsport Magazin, the Red Bull director has no aspirations to transition into a team principal role. His ongoing power struggle with the current boss is unrelated to the speculation surrounding this matter.


Although not officially announced, Red Bull will have numerous external options readily accessible to them in case they require a temporary appointment. Mattia Binotto and Otmar Szafnauer, both of whom have recently held team principal roles in the paddock, could be intriguing alternatives for the team.