Red Bull adviser Helmut Marko at risk of suspension amid Christian Horner controversy

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Red Bull motorsport adviser Helmut Marko is at risk of being suspended in the midst of the continuing controversy over team boss Christian Horner.

The 80-year-old Austrian could face disciplinary action as the result of an internal investigation.

A source close to Red Bull told BBC Sport the plan was to suspend Marko.

Asked whether he could be suspended, Marko said: “It’s difficult to judge, or let’s put it this way, ultimately, I’ll decide for myself what I do.”

He added: “The theoretical possibility always exists.”

As to whether he would be at the next race in Australia, he said there was a possibility he might not be.

Speaking to Austrian broadcaster ORF, Marko said: “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.”

Marko is a highly influential person within Red Bull. As motorsport adviser, he runs the company’s young driver programme and was responsible for bringing Max Verstappen into the team.

He was a close ally of the late co-owner Dietrich Mateschitz, and effectively was his eyes and ears within the team.

Mateschitz died in October 2022, rendering Marko’s position less secure.

The move comes less than a week since Jos Verstappen, the father of Red Bull’s three-time champion Max Verstappen, warned that the Horner controversy was “driving people apart” and that the team would “explode” if their team boss remained in position.

Horner faced an internal investigation by Red Bull after being accused of inappropriate and controlling behaviour by a female colleague.

Red Bull’s board dismissed the allegations on the eve of the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix.

Twenty-four hours later, a cache of messages purporting to involve Horner was leaked to senior F1 personnel and media.

And on Thursday, the woman who accused Horner was suspended by Red Bull.

Asked about the possibility of Marko being suspended, a Red Bull Racing spokesperson told BBC Sport: “That’s news to us.”

The spokesperson emphasised that Marko was employed directly by Red Bull Gmbh in Austria and that Red Bull Racing had no power over him.

Horner said on Thursday that it was “time to draw a line under” the controversy swirling around the team.

But Red Bull’s engine partner Honda has called for more details about the matter.

A spokesperson for the Japanese company said: “We do not have full details on the matter at this point, therefore Honda are not in a position to make any detailed comment. We look forward to full clarity as soon as possible.”

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