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Helmut Marko: Red Bull senior figure will not be suspended after talks with shareholder Oliver Mintzlaff

Red Bull advisor Helmut Marko will remain in his role as a motorsport advisor after he alluded to the possibility of being suspended by the company following the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix; Max Verstappen had said his future depends on Marko staying at the team

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Christian Horner says 'no one individual is bigger than the team' as he answers questions on whether Helmut Marko or Max Verstappen are leaving Red Bull.

Helmut Marko insists he will not be suspended by Red Bull after talks with the parent company's managing director Oliver Mintzlaff.

Media reports claimed on Friday that Marko was under investigation in connection with information leaks relating to the probe into Christian Horner's alleged inappropriate behaviour with a female colleague, prompting questions over the future of Max Verstappen who has a close relationship with Marko.

The allegations against Horner were dismissed and subsequently his accuser has been suspended on full pay.

Marko has overseen the Red Bull driver programme since the F1 team formed in 2005 and played a major role in signing several drivers including Sebastian Vettel, Daniel Ricciardo and Verstappen.

The 80-year-old, who is employed as a motorsport advisor by Austrian parent company Red Bull GmbH rather than the F1 team directly, was a close confidant of Dietrich Mateschitz, the company's co-founder who died in October 2022, and has been a senior figure during the company's two decades in the sport.

Marko held talks with Mintzlaff on Saturday, ahead of the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix where Verstappen led a Red Bull one-two from team-mate Sergio Perez.

"It was a very good meeting. I think everything is clear," said Marko.

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"We had a discussion and we decided these rumours were spread out and had no legal background."

Asked if he was going to be suspended, he added: "No, no, no. If someone has this wish or idea, there was no legal basis."

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Max Verstappen gives his thoughts after winning the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix and expresses the importance of 'peace' at Red Bull.

Marko also seemed to allude he would not leave the team amid the recent turmoil at Red Bull and could work with Horner.

"We worked for 19 years together, so why not? But things have to be solved," he said.

On whether Verstappen will see out his Red Bull contract that ends in 2028, Marko added: "That's quite a long time from now. Toto Wolff says contracts don't mean so much in Formula 1."

On Friday, before the talks with Mintzlaff, Marko was asked by Austrian TV channel ORF about the possibility of a suspension being imposed.

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Christian Horner reacts to calls for transparency after the Red Bull team principal was investigated for inappropriate behaviour.

"I'll put it this way, it's difficult to judge, or let's put it this way, ultimately, I'll decide for myself what I do," he said.

"The theoretical possibility always exists. I think it's such a complex issue. Again, we want peace in the team. This World Championship will be difficult enough with 24 races and we have to concentrate on that."

Mintzlaff also spoke to the media on Saturday and stated he was "just here for the racing" when arriving in the Jeddah paddock.

On the talks with Marko he said: "I just can tell you that I had a good conversation."

And on Verstappen's future, Mintzlaff replied when asked whether he believed the world champion would stay at the team: "Of course, he has a contract."

Verstappen: Red Bull must keep Marko if I'm to stay

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Max Verstappen said on Friday that his future with Red Bull is dependent on them keeping advisor Helmut Marko at the team

Verstappen's Red Bull contract runs to the end of the 2028 season but speculation about his future has swirled after his father, Jos Verstappen, said at the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix that the team was "in danger of being torn apart" if Horner remained in his role.

After qualifying at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, Verstappen told Sky Sports F1 his Red Bull future depends on Marko staying at the team.

"Helmut and I, we have a lot of respect for each other. My loyalty in general to Red Bull, but also to him, after all for what he has done for me goes very far," said Verstappen.

"I've always said, especially after Dietrich's passing, with everyone in the team, that I find it really important that we keep the key team together because that's how we have performed really well and that's how we will perform really well in the future. They know that.

"For me, Helmut is a very key factor in that and he has to stay for me, for sure."

Max Verstappen and Helmut Marko
Image: Max Verstappen and Helmut Marko have a close relationship

Marko was asked about Verstappen's comments and thanked the three-time world champion.

"I was really thankful for how loyal he is, and I only can say I was impressed and thankful to him," he said.

Horner: I have no issues with Marko

Horner and Marko have known each other for 18 years and both played an important role in the foundations of the Red Bull F1 team.

Rumours of a Marko suspension were "news to the team as it was to anyone else" according to Horner.

"My relationship with Helmut is no issue. I think that he's always outspoken, but that's Helmut," the Red Bull team principal added.

"I've known Helmut since 1996 and he's played an important role over the years. That role has evolved over the years. I've known him a very, very long time, and coming up to 81 years of age, he's still obviously motivated about Formula 1, which is a positive thing.

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Following comments from Max Verstappen's father Jos Verstappen, Red Bull boss Christian Horner says the trio have agreed to move on for the season ahead

"We're focused on winning and that's what we do well, that's what we've done today, that's how we've started this season. Obviously I'm aware of all the noise but it hasn't distracted the team from the job and we are one team.

"Obviously there's speculation about Helmut now. Helmut doesn't work for me. He doesn't work for Red Bull Racing, he works for Red Bull GmbH, but I think you can see that there's a very clear route that is looking forward and wanting to continue this incredible winning streak that we've been on."

Formula 1's biggest ever season continues with the Australian Grand Prix from March 22-24, live on Sky Sports F1. Stream every F1 race and more with a NOW Sports Month Membership - just £21 a month for 12 months. No contract, cancel anytime

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