The twist in the Christian Horner saga that few saw coming – and what an email sign-off could hint at around his future, writes JONATHAN McEVOY

A twist in the Christian Horner saga is that his former PA is back in the Red Bull fold.

I am told she is organising his diary after the fallout that has seen a female employee of his suspended from her job.

Nicole Carling, who has been contacted by journalists to inquire whether she wanted to speak about Horner, is acting as ‘interim executive assistant’ – that is her email sign-off. It would seem to derail rumours that she was going to air grievances about any maltreatment by Horner.

Carling is not in Japan for this weekend’s race. A source close to the scene says: ‘One of the complainant’s grievances was that she was not allowed to go to as many races as she would have liked to. But she was asked to stay on Japan/Singapore time, eating into her “time off”.’

Pole Position has learned that a resolution to the women’s complaint was due for completion this week or the next. That timeframe, however, has been delayed since the employee complained this week that she is feeling ‘lonely’, and, it is presumed, unable to provide evidence at this stage for that reason.

Christian Horner's former PA Nicole Carling has returned as interim executive assistant


+8
View gallery

Christian Horner’s former PA Nicole Carling has returned as interim executive assistant

The Red Bull principal is continuing to operate on his mantra that it is ¿business as normal¿
+8


View gallery

The Red Bull principal is continuing to operate on his mantra that it is ‘business as normal’

Max Verstappen is expected to stay at Red Bull as long as they keep providing a winning car
+8
View gallery

 Max Verstappen is expected to stay at Red Bull as long as they keep providing a winning car

For now, Horner is in Japan for this weekend’s race and living out his mantra that it is ‘business as normal’.

I understand that Max Verstappen, team’s prime asset as star driver on £40million-plus a year, is for the moment intent on staying at the team. He is contracted up until the end of 2028, and while he may change his mind if motorsport adviser Dr Helmut Marko leaves, he has no viable alternative to the success Red Bull machinery can deliver him.

Verstappen’s relations with Horner are not warm, but a source close to him has told me that he is willing to live with that as long as they are providing him with a winning car.

The Verstappen camp are not believed to be keen on Fernando Alonso joining from Aston Martin. Talks with that in mind have taken place through the Spaniard’s manager Flavio Briatore, but such a move is unlikely to happen. If it ever were to materialise, it would certainly upset the equilibrium.

That makes Sergio Perez favourite to stay on, as Verstappen’s No 2, beyond his current contract, which expires this year. Another possibility is Carlos Sainz, Ferrari’s winner in Australia a fortnight ago. He is a talent and all-round good guy. Another target is Alex Albon, of Williams. Red Bull have actively engaged him, but his team boss James Vowles is confident of retaining his main man, the driver around whom he wishes to rebuild the fallen team.

Mercedes would once have been an understandable exit strategy for Verstappen but their form is relatively lamentable (by their admission, not my accusation), so that is that is an unattractive diversion right now.

Verstappen's camp are not believed to be keen on Fernando Alonso joining from Aston Martin
+8
View gallery

Verstappen’s camp are not believed to be keen on Fernando Alonso joining from Aston Martin

Sergio Perez is favourite to stay on at Red Bull as Verstappen's No 2 beyond this season
+8
View gallery

Sergio Perez is favourite to stay on at Red Bull as Verstappen’s No 2 beyond this season

Wolff right to U-turn on Japanese Grand Prix absence

Toto Wolff declared he would not be in Japan this weekend. He has made no secret of the fact that it is the least desirable of venues for him. He has also decided to miss a few races – part of a rotation policy at Mercedes, as the calendar grows bigger by the year.

But, lo and behold, he is in Suzuka.

I think he is right to be on site. The team needs their leader in position when things are going as badly as they are. His conscience played on his mind, and he knows he needs a grip on the malaise.

Mercedes principal Toto Wolff reversed his decision not to attend the Japanese Grand Prix
+8
View gallery

Mercedes principal Toto Wolff reversed his decision not to attend the Japanese Grand Prix

Mail Sport readers chance to attend Moss memorial

Further to my piece last week about Sir Stirling Moss’s memorial service that will take place at Westminster Abbey on May 8. Now, his restaurateur son Elliot is giving readers the chance to attend. ‘The Mail was my father’s favourite publication,’ he tells me.

Indeed, Stirling had the paper delivered to his fabulous Bond-style house in Mayfair, where TV screens came out of the ceiling at the press of a button, each morning.

Stirling, who died on Easter Day 2020 feted as the greatest all-round racing driver the world has known, was due to be commemorated in fanfare-style soon afterwards. Lockdown restrictions intervened.

Despite the setbacks, it is now time for the hosannas to sound. You can join the fun because there are 722 tickets up for grabs. It was, of course, the silver Mercedes Benz carrying that number in which Moss produced perhaps the greatest of all drives in the Mille Miglia of 1955. He covered 1,000 miles of undulating Italian roads in 10 hours, 7 minutes and 48 seconds at an average speed of 98.53mph. The record will never be broken. The race, stained by death, was discontinued two years later.

Elliot has given me strict instructions to couch the invitation like this: ‘The Moss family has made 722 tickets available for the wider motorsport community and the general public to attend the celebration of the life of Sir Stirling Moss. These tickets are available via tickettailor.com’.

Mail Sport readers have been given the chance to attend Sir Stirling Moss¿s memorial service which will take place at Westminster Abbey on May 8
+8
View gallery

Mail Sport readers have been given the chance to attend Sir Stirling Moss’s memorial service which will take place at Westminster Abbey on May 8

FIA President earns Ecclestone support

Bernie Ecclestone’s wife Fabiana has signed a letter of strong support for FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem, who was recently cleared of playing a role in changing the results of last year’s Saudi Arabian Grand Prix and (more perplexingly) of trying to stop the Las Vegas race going ahead on safety grounds. It was staged and Ben Sulayem gave his approval.

Now a letter from ‘Member Clubs and Sport Federations of the Americas’ (Mrs E is the FIA sporting vice president of South America) has urged the FIA to ‘initiate legal action against those who, without cause, slander the FIA and its leadership.’

It doesn’t sound as if Ben Sulayem is going anywhere, whatever his critics might wish.

That is the nature of FIA politics. They don’t like being shoved around.

FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem has the support of Bernie Ecclestone¿s wife Fabiana
+8
View gallery

FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem has the support of Bernie Ecclestone’s wife Fabiana

Related Posts

Travis kelce Mom : Jo Koy owes Taylor swift a public apology. The “joke” was rude, crass and insulting, completely unnecessary. I actually didn’t think he was very funny at all….

Travis kelce Mom : Jo Koy owes Taylor swift a public apology. The “joke” was rude, crass and insulting, completely unnecessary. I actually didn’t think he was…

VIDEO : Travis Kelce’s mother revealed the secret to her son’s romance with Taylor Swift in her latest interview

Travis Kelce’s mom ducks questions about son’s rumored romance with Taylor Swift in ‘TODAY’ show interview Travis Kelce and Taylor Swift and Travis Kelce’s mother as she…

EXCITING THING TRAVIS KELCE WANT TO KEEP PERSONAL ABOUT TAYLOR SWIFT REVEALED

THE INTRIGUING THING TRAVIS KELCE WANTS TO KEEP PERSONAL ABOUT TAYLOR SWIFT The athlete passed on a question at a press conferenceTravis Kelce has been relatively open when…

VIDEO: Kevin Hart flexes Lakers’ LeBron James friendship in viral moment during Kai Cenat’s stream

LeBron James has such a wide network of friends. Whether it is a fellow athlete or an individual who rocks out a stage on constant basis, the Los Angeles…

Suggested Lakers Trade Proposal for All-Star Forward is A Terrible Idea

The Los Angeles Lakers are about to have one active offseason. They are yet to announce their next head coach but regardless of who that will be,…

What is the “biggest difference” between Lebron James and Kobe Bryant?

The two Hall of Famers had very distinctive methodologies.  Los Angeles Lakers legends Kobe Bryant and LeBron James both led their Purple and Gold squads to the…