Amid Horner crisis, Red Bull may lose technical boss

"The Red Bull tree is burning internally"


12 February 2024 - 08:21
Amid Horner crisis, Red Bull may (…)

Another layer to Red Bull’s pre-season turmoil has emerged in the shape of the potential defection to Ferrari of its technical director Pierre Wache.

The crisis that threatens the Formula 1 career of Red Bull’s long-time team boss Christian Horner began to come to a head last Friday, as the 50-year-old met with the barrister appointed by the Austrian parent company.

So intense is the media scrutiny into Horner’s supposed "inappropriate behaviour" against a female staff member that the meeting was moved from Milton-Keynes to a secret location.

The meeting then dragged on for a full eight hours, with sources reporting that an actual outcome may need to wait until after this week’s 2024 car launch and even the looming start of winter testing.

"This is not something that is going to be rectified that quickly," a source told the Sun newspaper.

When asked to comment, Red Bull Racing said only: "It would not be appropriate for us to comment until the investigation is complete."

Most expect Red Bull and Max Verstappen to dominate again this year, but team design guru Adrian Newey is warning that the gap to rivals could actually close due to the "conservative" approach to development of the new car.

"Our car will be a third evolution of the (2022) RB18," Newey is quoted as admitting in the pages of Italy’s La Gazzetta dello Sport.

"Resources are limited, so we decided to develop what we have. I just hope it turns out to be correct."

What Red Bull may not be able to control is the departure of more key staff - like Frenchman Pierre Wache, who is rumoured to be joining Mercedes-defector Lewis Hamilton in moving to Maranello.

"The Red Bull tree is burning internally," said veteran Formula 1 journalist Roger Benoit, writing for Blick newspaper. "Is he (Wache) leaving the sinking ship?"

La Gazzetta dello Sport concurs: "Ferrari looked into hiring Pierre Wache last year, but they failed. But now Wache is seriously considering accepting the offer."

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