F1 news: Verstappen raises Hamilton suspicion as Marko breaks rank on Horner investigation

The Formula One season is just around the corner and there are plenty of talking points already after Lewis Hamilton’s surprise move to Ferrari and the ongoing investigation into Red Bull team principal Christian Horner. The 50-year-old is set to be present when the team unveil their RB20 car for the 2024 campaign.

 

 

Horner is preparing to make his first public appearance since a complaint of inappropriate behaviour was made against him. He has denied all accusations and it is unclear whether the chief will address the investigation at the team’s launch at their factory in Milton Keynes.

 

Drivers Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez are likely to be quizzed over Horner after Friday’s hearing did not end with a resolution and it could still take several weeks before an outcome is reached.

 

Red Bull are showing off their new livery after rivals Mercedes and Ferrari, with Hamilton discussing the vehicle he will use in his final season with the Silver Arrows before leaving to link up with Charles Leclerc and Frederic Vasseur.

 

 

Come back bright and early tomorrow when we’ll have a fresh feed of live coverage, with the 2024 season creeping ever closer.

 

 

Max Verstappen has raised the prospect of Ferrari showing Lewis Hamilton something ‘nobody else knows about’ when discussing his long-standing F1 foe’s 2025 switch to the Prancing Horse.

 

The Dutchman spoke out at Red Bull’s launch of the RB20, which he hopes will take him to a fourth consecutive world title.

 

On why Hamilton may have taken the decision, Verstappen told Sky Sports: “It’s very difficult for me to know. I don’t know what he has in the back of his mind.

 

“If it’s a dream he’s had since he was a kid and he’s already achieved so much in the sport anyway, then why not.

 

“But then again, maybe he spoke to Ferrari and they’ve shown him stuff we don’t know about. It’s very difficult for me to answer.”

 

 

Red Bull have launched the 2024 F1 car in which Max Verstappen will chase down a fourth consecutive Drivers’ Championship.

 

The Dutchman dropped a hint to F1 fans before the launch by saying Red Bull’s livery looked ‘the same’, and he proved to be correct.

 

There are no drastic changes, at least on the surface, to the car that took Verstappen to the top last year.

 

 

F1 hero David Coulthard has called on Daniel Ricciardo to step his game up and blow away Yuki Tsunoda this season.

 

Some believe Ricciardo has another big move left in him, but the Aussie will need to perform well for Visa Cash App RB, particularly in relation to his hit-and-miss team-mate.

 

“He’s got to be the biggest personality in the paddock. But, at 34, I think he’s got to be doing more relative to Yuki,” Coulthard told the Formula for Success podcast.

 

“I think he needs to be blowing Yuki away, quite frankly. Because do we honestly think Yuki is a future Max [Verstappen] or a future Lewis [Hamilton]?”

 

 

Former F1 team owner Eddie Jordan is ‘so upset’ that not a single rookie driver will line up on the grid for the start of the 2024 season.

 

All 20 drivers who line up for this year’s first Grand Prix will be identical to the 20 who lined up for last season’s final race – for the first time in the sport’s history, as there was no movement whatsoever during the off-season.

 

“I am so upset,” Jordan told the Formula for Success podcast. “Honestly, I can’t tell you how upsetting this is. And I really blame the 10 teams.

 

“It’s scandalous. The vision, the foresight is negative. I think all of the big teams [and] all of the smaller teams, shame on those teams for not making it their business to give young blood, young talent and us in the media something that we can grasp on and say who was the best rookie of the year. We can’t say that this year. It’s just wrong.”

 

 

Former F1 star Paul Di Resta claims that Lewis Hamilton rounding off his career with a title win at Ferrari will be a ‘big task’.

 

A Ferrari star has not won the Drivers’ Championship since Kimi Raikkonen in 2007, and the Prancing Horse lagged significantly behind Red Bull last season.

 

Regardless, Hamilton is set to take the gamble and ditch Mercedes ahead of the 2025 campaign.

 

“Lewis has obviously been convinced, he’s obviously been given security, he’s obviously been given something that’s driven him,” Di Resta told sport.de.

 

“I think it’s great news for motorsport. I think is great news for Formula One to see him go in there and I guess it would be another step up if he goes and wins another title at Ferrari.

 

 

 

Mercedes technical director James Allison has revealed that the team opting to develop a new chassis and gearbox for the W15 has limited the extent of development elsewhere on the car.

 

Budget cap restrictions have forced the Silver Arrows to focus on specific areas of the 2024 season, with Allison shedding light on the the Silver Arrows’ thought process.

 

“A new chassis and gearbox were standard for each year, pre-budget-cap,” he said. “Now, the budget cap usually forces you to choose, but there are teams like us who have opted to change both.

 

“There is no doubt that having a new outer casing of the gearbox and, at the same time, having a new chassis are two big projects that take a part of our financial means.

 

 

Red Bull senior advisor Helmut Marko could not help himself as he took a jab at Toto Wolff and Mercedes over Lewis Hamilton’s exit.

 

Hamilton and Wolff were previously described as extremely close and once upon a time not even a sheet of paper could come between them.

 

When that idea was put to Marko he quipped: “But a Ferrari contract would!” and went on to suggest that Hamilton’s move to Ferrari would be a significant blow to the Silver Arrows.

 

 

Red Bull had reportedly hoped that an investigation into team principal Christian Horner would be concluded by today.

 

The team are unveiling their new RB20 car at the Red Bull Milton Keynes factory and wanted the investigation to be over at this point according to the Daily Mail.

 

But it is set to go on for several weeks towards the start of the 2024 season next month and Horner, Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez will be inundated with questions about the investigation tonight.

 

 

Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc has surprised fans by announcing that he will be dropping some new music tonight.

 

He explained that he spent two days in a studio with French rapper Sofiane and will be releasing four songs at midnight.

 

 

Ex-Formula One driver Paul di Resta has questioned whether Ferrari team principal Frederic Vasseur is the right man to work with Lewis Hamilton.

 

Hamilton will link up with Vasseur and Charles Leclerc next season, but Di Resta has raised concerns over whether the Frenchman has the necessary personality.

 

“I guess I could have probably expected that at some point where Lewis is,” Di Resta told Sport. “But at the same time for somebody who’s been in Formula One and so successful, has driven a Formula One car powered by a Mercedes engine for every lap and every bit of success he’s had, to change that at this point of your career I think is a big thing.

 

“However, I think Fred Vasseur is obviously a born racer. I raced with Fred like Lewis did years ago, you know how he comes into it.

 

“Is he the right man? Time will tell. Do they need a stronger personality? That’s what we’ll be looking back at in 10 years time and saying, ‘Well, was that the right thing?’

 

“But Lewis has obviously been convinced, he’s obviously been given security, he’s obviously been given something that’s driven him.”

 

 

Red Bull have been warned that the outcome of Christian Horner’s investigation could hamper them in their bid to claim a fourth world championship in a row.

 

Horner was quizzed for several hours on Friday over alleged complaints about the team principal’s conduct.

 

Ex-Ferrari and Renault driver Giancarlo Fisichella believes that Red Bull could be affected negatively if Horner was to leave the team as a result.

 

“It won’t be good for Red Bull if Christian Horner leaves,” he told OLGB. “They won so many races and championships with him and his fantastic work played a big role. Red Bull could be negatively affected if Christian leaves, and it could have a big role in predicting who’ll win the championship.

 

“It’s difficult to predict who’ll emerge victorious before a season begins and before the winter testing. I think the reference point will be Verstappen once again, though

 

“I would say Ferrari and Mercedes will be closer than last year, especially in the race pace as Ferrari often did well. I’d say those two are closer, and it would be nice to see the season unfold. I would say Verstappen is still the favourite as things stand, with Ferrari and Mercedes in the mix.”

 

 

Mercedes chief Toto Wolff is desperate to close the gap between the Silver Arrows and Red Bull this season.

 

Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez together won all but one race last season in another dominant campaign for Christian Horner’s outfit, but Mercedes are gunning for championship glory once again.

 

“I am excited that we’re about to go racing again and, of course, curious and excited to see how the car will perform,” Wolff said at the W15 unveiling.

 

“I think we will get an early indication of whether we have solved some of the inherent problems that we had on the chassis side last year. We have a mountain to climb to get to the front of the field, but we are focused on doing so.

 

“We were in a tough fight last season with Ferrari and McLaren, at times Aston Martin, with a big gap between Red Bull and the rest. I would hope we are in the chasing pack at the beginning of the season and hopefully a step closer to Red Bull.”

 

 

Geri Horner, wife of Red Bull team principal Christian, is reportedly fearing months of legal drama as a result of the investigation into his conduct.

 

The Spice Girls star is afraid of how her life may start to “unravel” according to Closer and is preparing for a lengthy process.

 

An insider said: “The speculation is driving Geri crazy and it’s making her extremely anxious. She’s now panicking that it could start causing tension in their marriage due to what could potentially be months or years of legal drama.”

 

 

Former F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone has told Christian Horner to keep “his head down” amid the ongoing investigation into his conduct.

 

Horner is expected to be at Red Bull’s new car unveiling today after accusations of inappropriate behaviour.

 

But Ecclestone has advised Horner to stay out of the spotlight until a resolution is found.

 

He told AFP: “My advice to Christian, apart from keeping his head down, is to do nothing, wait and see what happens. I hope Christian keeps his head down and that someone talks individually to him and the woman and it is sorted out.”

 

 

 

Jenson Button has played down the idea that Max Verstappen’s Formula One dominance has made the sport “boring”.

 

The Dutchman won all but three races last season on his way to a third consecutive title, but the Brit believes the sport is as entertaining as ever.

 

“We can say this is boring because one guy is winning all the races, [but] last year will go down in history,” Button told the Fueling Around podcast. “I have to say, if you look at the numbers and the results, yeah, it doesn’t look great.

 

“But I think we had some bloody good racing last year. Not all the races, but we have had some really good racing up and down the field. It wasn’t a walk in the park for Max either.

 

“I enjoyed the season – sprint races not so much, apart from Brazil, which was amazing. More races in Brazil, please!”

 

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Verstappen cruised to a third consecutive title last season but the Brit believes that he and Red Bull can be stopped.

 

“If you were to say ‘are they beatable?’, you’re going to have to say ‘yes’,” Norris said. “I think we’re going to want to believe to say yes, because we were very close at certain times – and at certain times we did beat them.

 

“So the question is, can we beat them over a season? Because I think that’s going to be the challenging thing and I think that’s going to be very difficult to do with how well they’re performing. So [I’m] optimistic. Possible to beat them at certain times? I want to believe so, yeah.”

 

 

Red Bull senior advisor Helmut Marko has discussed Christian Horner’s investigation for the first time.

 

Horner is being probed after a complaint about his alleged inappropriate behaviour and Marko hopes that the situation can be resolved soon.

 

“I can’t tell you that, nor can I say anything else on this subject,” Marko said when asked if the Horner case was hampering Red Bull’s preparations.

 

“As long as the investigation is ongoing or there is no result, you won’t hear anything from me. It is an ongoing process.

 

“I hope that we can get our turbulence under control quickly. Fortunately, our car is ready and we are well prepared.”

 

Helmut Marko has discussed Christian Horner’s investigation. (Image: Getty.)

 

 

 

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner is set to make his first public appearance today since an investigation was opened into his conduct.

 

The team are unveiling their RB20 car for the 2024 season at their Milton Keynes factory, with Horner to be in attendance.

 

It remains to be seen whether Horner will be facing any questions but Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez are likely to be quizzed over the ongoing investigation.

 

 

Gideon Canice

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