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The hot-headed father of Red Bull’s star driver who is taking on Christian Horner over ‘sex texts’ scandal: How Jos Verstappen assaulted man at go-kart track, was accused of attacking an ex and arrested for attempted murder after driving at former lover


Christian Horner‘s efforts to move on from the ‘sex texts’ scandal are being frustrated by an enemy in his own camp – the hot-headed father of Red Bull’s star driver, Max Verstappen

Jos Verstappen has repeatedly turned on Horner in recent days, saying the ongoing furore was ‘driving the team apart’ and there would be tension as long as he stays as its principal. 

Jos, who manages his son and recently watched him come first in the Bahrain Grand Prix, further accused Geri Halliwell’s husband of ‘playing the victim’ and said the team would ‘explode’ if he refused to stand aside.

Horner was cleared by an investigation into alleged inappropriate behaviour towards a female colleague by the F1 team’s parent company, Red Bull GmbH, only for new leaked messages to appear 24 hours later. 

The 50-year-old was spotted embracing Halliwell on Saturday in a show of unity. But Verstappen Snr, 51, has made no secret of the fact he believes the beleaguered Brit’s position as team principal is now untenable and it is time for him to leave. 

Max Verstappen's father Jos has repeatedly turned on Christian Horner in recent days

Max Verstappen’s father Jos has repeatedly turned on Christian Horner in recent days

Horner and wife Geri Halliwell putting on a united front during the Bahrain Grand Prix on Saturday

Horner and wife Geri Halliwell putting on a united front during the Bahrain Grand Prix on Saturday

Horner was seen having an animated discussion with Jos in the Red Bull motorhome during the weekend of the Bahrain Grand Prix

Horner was seen having an animated discussion with Jos in the Red Bull motorhome during the weekend of the Bahrain Grand Prix

Both Jos and Horner were seen waving their arms about during their behind-closed-doors discussion

Both Jos and Horner were seen waving their arms about during their behind-closed-doors discussion 

The pair have been at loggerheads since at least Friday, when they were seen having a heated conversation in Horner’s office before Jos stormed out – although he later returned and the pair shook hands.

The Dutchman is a former F1 driver himself and an influential figure at Red Bull, but he has a controversial past that has seen him come into regular contact with the authorities. 

A fight on a go-kart track in 1998 led to him fracturing his victim’s skull and saw him handed a five-year non-custodial sentence by a Belgian court. 

A decade later, the three-times married father of five reportedly received a three-month suspended sentence for threatening Max’s mother, Sophie Kumpen, and violating a previously issued restraining order.

In November 2011, Jos denied claims he assaulted an unnamed 24-year-old girlfriend in a hotel room in Venlo, Holland. 

And in January the following year, he was arrested for attempted murder after allegedly driving a car into his former girlfriend in the southern Dutch city of Roermond. 

The charge was withdrawn due to a lack of evidence and he was released after two weeks in jail. 

Jos also had a near-fatal accident at the German Grand Prix in 1994 when his Benetton car exploded into a fireball when he came in for a routine pitstop that went wrong during refuelling.

The Dutchman was Benetton team-mates with legendary racing driver Michael Schumacher before the German left for Ferrari.

None of Jos’s past seems to have changed the close relationship between him and his world champion son.

Max paid an emotional tribute to his father in 2021 after he controversially overtook Lewis Hamilton to win his first championship, saying: ‘All the years we spent travelling for that goal and then everything comes together in the last lap. It’s insane.’ 

One story of the ‘tough love’ displayed from father to son dates back to 2012, when Jos kicked a 15-year-old Max out of his van as they were driving back home to Holland as punishment for crashing in a kart race.  

‘I didn’t speak to him for six or seven days,’ Jos explained. ‘I knew what I was doing. I think it helped him and shaped him.’

Jos has emerged as one of Horner’s most vocal critics, with the pair filmed having a heated conversation after qualifying on Friday night. 

What Christian and Jos were discussing in a team trailer remains a secret – although Horner was clearly agitated and seen pointing outside and waving his hand around. Jos had his hands in his pockets.

Jos (right) reportedly won't attend the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix due to his comments about Horner

Jos (right) reportedly won’t attend the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix due to his comments about Horner

Max with his father while he was still a young go kart driver

Max with his father while he was still a young go kart driver 

In November 2011, Jos denied claims he assaulted an unnamed 24-year-old girlfriend in a hotel room in Venlo, Holland

In November 2011, Jos denied claims he assaulted an unnamed 24-year-old girlfriend in a hotel room in Venlo, Holland

Jos Verstappen's racing car caught fire during a pit stop at the German Grand Prix in 1994

Jos Verstappen’s racing car caught fire during a pit stop at the German Grand Prix in 1994

Jos has insisted that Red Bull would ‘explode’ if Horner remains as team principal after messages and pictures the Red Bull team principal sent to a female employee were leaked. He says Christian is playing the victim.

Friday’s footage has sparked wild speculation online about what the apparently fiery conversation entailed. Many believe it is a hint that Max Verstappen could try to force a move to Ferrari and join Lewis Hamilton if Horner holds on to his £8million-a-year job. 

There is also an empty seat at Mercedes when Hamilton leaves at the end of 2024.

Others have suggested Jos could have been defending the female employee or telling Christian that he should fall on his sword.

His son Max has refused on four occasions in press conferences over the past weekend to offer Horner unconditional backing, but insiders have said he is believed to be in general support of his father’s stance.

ESPN have reported that Jos will not attend the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix this weekend following comments he made about Horner. 

According to his affiliates, Horner believes Verstappen Snr has orchestrated a campaign to unseat him for the past few weeks, the implication being that the Dutchman may even have had a hand in the email leak.

‘There is tension here while he (Horner) remains in position,’ Jos exclusively told Mail Sport.

‘The team is in danger of being torn apart. It can’t go on the way it is. It will explode. He is playing the victim, when he is the one causing the problems.’

Horner was seen alongside wife Halliwell as they watched the podium celebrations after Red Bull took a 1-2 victory led by Max Verstappen at the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix

Horner was seen alongside wife Halliwell as they watched the podium celebrations after Red Bull took a 1-2 victory led by Max Verstappen at the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix

Horner kissed his wife in full view of the assembled cameras before leaving for the grid

Horner kissed his wife in full view of the assembled cameras before leaving for the grid



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