Liuzzi knows how it works in Red Bull: “The internal war is not over, Horner will pay for the mistakes”

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Liuzzi knows how it works in Red Bull: “The internal war is not over, Horner will pay for the mistakes”

Vitantonio Liuzzi, Red Bull driver in his first season in F1 for the Austrian team, analyzed the delicate Horner case for Fanpage.it: “His farewell would be too destabilizing, he should not be dismissed.”

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“Red Bull won't let go of Christian Horner” . The former Vitantonio Liuzzi , with a one-year stint in 2005 in the Milton Keynes team (born that year), thinks this way about the British team principal, who ended up at the center of controversy at the end of February for the “sexgate” with a team employee at the center, considered by some to be the lover of Jos Verstappen, Max's father. For the 43-year-old from Puglia, who flew to Jeddah this weekend to take on the usual role of FIA steward, changing Horner would not be the solution ” for his working methodology and because he is a winning man. He will pay for his mistakes, but replacing him is not the solution.”

Liuzzi, what race awaits us in Saudi Arabia?
“A more interesting race than Bahrain. Jeddah is a track with different characteristics to Sakhir, where there is also the unknown of finding a better set-up. In the first race everyone knew how to set it, given that the winter tests were carried out the week It's difficult to counteract such a dominant Red Bull, but for me there will be more twists and turns until the end.”

In Bahrain Ferrari confirmed itself as the second force. What pros and cons did you see?
“The race pace has certainly improved, but there are those problems with Leclerc's brakes which, for a car, I can assure from experience, are not small problems. I hope that Ferrari can resolve them before the race.”

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In Red Bull there is more talk about “Sexgate” with Christian Horner at its center than Verstappen's usual dominance on the track. What idea did he have?
“That the affair is not a positive thing for the team and the company, but Horner's farewell would significantly destabilize a team that is dominating. Given how the investigation ended, I doubt this hypothesis will happen, even if the internal war will not end for now. I've known Christian for a long time: he's a methodical, precise person, he's always known what he was doing. You could tell right away.”

Liuzzi with Horner at the time of Red Bull

Liuzzi with Horner at the time of Red Bull

He was a Red Bull driver in 2005, in the first year of the team's birth, then he moved to the then Toro Rosso, now with the name of Racing Bulls, in the 2006 and 2007 seasons. What were the dynamics like then?
“In the early days there was a different policy, then Dietrich Mateschitz (co-founder of Red Bull who died in 2022, ed.) wanted both Helmut Marko (adviser of Red Bull) and Christian Horner at the top and the powers at the top became more clear His death created a bit of confusion. This is also why I think it's best not to push Horner away.”

The employee at the center of the scandal appears to be Jos Verstappen's lover, who last weekend in Sakhir called for Horner to leave because “the team would risk bursting apart.” Do you agree with Max's dad's words?
“For me, as the saying goes, “you don't change a team that wins”. In an internal and political war like the one in Red Bull, both sides must be heard. Verstappen may have had interests other than economic ones, more sentimental, but Horner knows all the dynamics of the team well, having been there for 19 years. Changing a capable man and the environment would weaken the team. Christian will pay for his mistakes, but the team's working methodology must not change.”

Dad Verstappen did not rule out a possible farewell for Max in 2025 and his move to Mercedes. Would he look good in Brackley?
“Wherever he goes, Max will always be the current number one because he is proving to be complete in any situation. I think he can help Mercedes get back on top, even if there is already a promising driver like Russell. It would be a super level coup like that of Hamilton to Ferrari”.

Liuzzi with Coulthard, his Red Bull teammate

Liuzzi with Coulthard, his Red Bull teammate

In the event of Horner's departure, sporting director Jonathan Wheatley was spoken for in his place, but he held all sorts of roles in Milton Keynes. Could this be the right figure?
“Wheatley has held various roles (including mechanic, chief mechanic, team manager and sporting director, ed.) and is a competent person. He has worked alongside Horner for many years, but from sporting director to team principal is not a small leap I reiterate my hope that Horner does not leave. If you abandon a winning path for a new one, it is always a risk.”

This year the F1 calendar will have 24 events, which is the longest in history. Drivers like Alonso and especially Verstappen have complained a lot. How do you see it?
“For me, 24 events could fit, I complain more than anything about the fact that little thought has been given to the logistics for the teams. It's not right to travel from the USA to Asia in the space of a week. Then it could be difficult to see Verstappen almost all the time winning, yes, but unfortunately F1 has always been made up of cycles: in the early 2000s with Schumacher and Ferrari, then with Vettel in Red Bull, Hamilton and Mercedes and with Max now.”

FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem is under investigation by F1 for having altered the result of the 2023 Jeddah race in favor of Fernando Alonso, as well as mismanagement in the organization of the Las Vegas GP. If it were true, it would be yet another scandal in F1…
“I don't feel like commenting because there is an investigation underway, unfortunately F1 has always been full of scandals. The Ferrari-McLaren Spy Story in 2007, the Crashgate-Renault the following year and so on. I remember in paddock in Singapore that time Alonso won, there was something anomalous in the air and everyone was taken aback by this fact. In a world like that of F1, made up of so much money, there is always someone who tries to be clever” .

Liuzzi on track with Red Bull

Liuzzi on track with Red Bull

Do you like today's F1, less racing and more entertainment and business?
“I honestly preferred the one of my time, which was more British. But if the fans have increased and the races are followed by more people, it means that this sport is being restored to prestige. In the end, therefore, it is right to have an American F1 (now controlled by Liberty Media, ed.). I always think of the good of sport.”

Las Vegas, Singapore, historic Monte Carlo, but not only. City circuits are increasingly increasing. However, isn't the risk that we will see more and more one-way races, considering the narrow tracks and the single-seaters much larger than they used to be?
“Relatively, in the end there is always the DRS which makes everything more artificial but does not prevent overtaking. It would be better to see more refined and smaller cars like in my time, but today they are real works of art. Every time When I see them on the track, I'm fascinated by the technological development: you perceive the size less than the aerodynamic evolution. Engineering is part of the development and investment of a Formula 1 team, so it's right too.”

Nothing to be done in the fight at the top before the engine regulation change in 2026?
“For me, Red Bull will lead in this and the next championship, then it will all remain to be seen. Ferrari continues to develop the car, if it works well it will have a great chance in 2026.”

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