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Christian Horner could 'hit back' at Marko and Verstappens by signing Red Bull 'nemesis'

The influence of reigning triple world champion Verstappen and his father Jos came to the fore earlier this season, when the former threatened to leave if Red Bull axed his mentor Helmut Marko, and the latter put Horner under significant pressure by calling for him to step down.

Verstappen has been the dominant force not only at Red Bull, but in the whole of F1 since pipping Lewis Hamilton to the 2021 world title. Horner has now been told that recruiting Sainz, who is being replaced by Hamilton at Ferrari next year, would help his case in the power struggle unfolding at Red Bull.

Horner admitted after Sainz’s Australian Grand Prix victory on Sunday that he is causing Red Bull more problems than anyone else. “Carlos is the only driver that’s beaten Red Bull so he appears to be our nemesis.” said the Red Bull boss.

“Ferrari are a strong team. They’ve got two strong drivers. They’ve got a decent car. We’ve had a tough day today. They’ve capitalised on that. So it’s closed everything up again.”

Former Ferrari engineer Ernest Knoors believes that going after in-form Sainz would weaken the bargaining positions of Max and Jos Verstappen, therefore strengthening Horner’s hand. “If Christian feels Max Verstappen and Jos Verstappen and camp Helmut Marko are putting a bit of pressure on him, then you could say: ‘Well, someone like Carlos Sainz. If I bring him in, then I have someone with whom I can potentially become champion,'” he told Motorsport.com.

“After the race [in Australia] you could see that [Sainz] was still very much suffering from his appendicitis,” Stuck explained to Eurosport Germany. “So you have to appreciate his victory even more, because he did a great job. That was another confirmation of the doubts about his dismissal.

“[Ferrari boss] Frederic Vasseur will not be happy with his decision afterwards. First of all, I would like [him to join Red Bull] because competition stimulates the business aspect. I’m sure Max would sleep worse if he knew Sainz was going to be his new team-mate. Such a situation can result in two things: Verstappen becomes even faster or he becomes weaker.”


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