Tung questions Horner’s words: ‘Verstappen ensured that it did not escalate further’

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Tung questions Horner's words: 'Verstappen ensured that it did not escalate further'

Like many Formula 1 fans, Ho-Pin Tung also thinks it is a shame that the last month and a half has been more about peripheral issues than about the racing itself in the premier class of motorsport, and especially at Red Bull Racing. Yet the 41-year-old analyst thinks it is important to indicate that Verstappen is making a big impression with how he is holding up, and more than that, amid the unrest.

Verstappen again had to answer questions all weekend about the situation at Red Bull Racing: about team advisor Helmut Marko, about team boss Christian Horner, and about his own future. Yet the world champion was not deterred on the circuit. “We have often seen that Verstappen’s sporting performance is not affected at all by noise or other matters,” Tung compliments at nu.nl.

The Red Bull driver already held his own at the age of 17 when he entered Formula 1 with a lot of attention, did not break under the pressure of Kimi Räikkönen on the way to his first Grand Prix victory, and more than held his own in the title duel with the much more experienced Lewis Hamilton in 2021. Even during times of unrest within the team, Verstappen’s performance does not suffer from the possible distraction. ‘It is of course disturbing that he is constantly asked about it and is more or less forced to take a position. But at the same time that is also understandable.’

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verstappen red bull spain 2016
At the age of 18, Verstappen withstood the pressure of the experienced Kimi Räikkönen.

Tung especially hopes that the storm will pass quickly, both for the team and for Verstappen himself. ‘Formula 1 is a sport with a huge amount of media attention, in which the commercial interests are great. In addition, the situation could be a long-term threat to the stability within the team and therefore to his position. Because ultimately something like this affects the car and the team’s sporting performance.’ Although Verstappen continues to reach his sky-high level, the rest of the team can be influenced by the situation.

Horner and Verstappen make their opinions clear

Helmut Marko created new unrest on Friday by indicating that he might be suspended or perhaps leave himself. Verstappen defended the Austrian with conviction, and after a conversation with CEO Oliver Mintzlaff, Marko announced that he would remain with the team. According to Tung, Verstappen contributed to this. “We have probably not heard the last of it yet, but Verstappen’s words have ensured that it did not escalate further this weekend,” said the Velp resident.

“Horner has stated that no person is bigger than the team,” is how Tung describes the main point of interviews with the 50-year-old Briton from Saudi Arabia. “That should of course always be the case within a team sport like Formula 1, but at the same time I dare to say that Verstappen’s voice is bigger than that of anyone else within Red Bull,” says Tung, who explains the actions of the Limburger praises. ‘And he has spoken out very clearly with a clear position.’

Tung therefore agrees with Verstappen’s opinion. ‘Marko is a crucial person for him and the team, and must stay. Verstappen is not only a leader in the car, but also outside the car and within the team,” is Tung’s conclusion. ‘This has been clearly confirmed once again. Something like that is clever and reminds me of Michael Schumacher in his heyday.’

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