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Christian Horner preparing gift for Thai Red Bull owner if Max Verstappen joins Mercedes

Christian Horner could please Red Bull owner Chalerm Yoovidhya by signing Alex Albon as Max Verstappen’s replacement, should the reigning world champion leave for Mercedes. Verstappen has been linked with a move away from the Austrian constructor in recent weeks, with the Dutchman emerging as a shock candidate for Red Bull’s rivals Mercedes.

It’s been business as usual on the track for Red Bull. After two races, unsurprisingly, the dominant force in Formula One boast two wins to their name. What’s more, the Red Bull muscle was flexed en masse, as they marked their return to racing with back-to-back one-two finishes, after Verstappen’s team-mate Sergio Perez finished behind him in both the Bahrain and Saudi Arabia Grands Prix.

Red Bull haven’t been as in control off the track though, with several controversies having plagued their otherwise stellar start to the season. One of them has surrounded the future of talisman Verstappen, who has been tipped as the next big name to move across the grid, with a surprise switch to Mercedes as Lewis Hamilton’s replacement having been mooted.

Should that turn out to be the case, they would of course need to appoint a successor, and team principal Horner could throw Red Bull owner Yoovidhya an olive branch after the recent troubles by signing compatriot Albon. Bild have suggested that Albon is the likely candidate to replace Verstappen if the three-time world champion moves on to pastures new at the end of the current season, or at any point in the near future.

The 27-year-old is well known at Red Bull, having spent two years with the team between 2019 and 2021, finishing in the podium positions twice, before moving across to current outfit Williams. Since then though, Albon has impressed at Williams, racking up seven top-10 finishes during the 2023 campaign, suggesting with the power and pace of Red Bull’s car, he could go on and compete for podium positions, or even a World Championship itself.

And if Horner could deliver Yoovidhya a Thai world champion, that could be enough to smooth things over following a testing couple of months.

However, it does come amid suggestions that pressure is being put on Horner by Yoovidhya, who is said to have been concerned by the recent scandals surrounding the team. Bild have also reported that Yoovidhya – whose net worth is believed to be in excess of £25billion – has sent a family member to watch over the team principal, as the businessman begins to ponder his next move with even Horner’s place believed to be under scrutiny.


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