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MONTE-CARLO, MONACO - MAY 28: Race winner Max Verstappen of the Netherlands and Oracle Red Bull Racing and Second placed Fernando Alonso of Spain and Aston Martin F1 Team celebrate in parc ferme during the F1 Grand Prix of Monaco at Circuit de Monaco on May 28, 2023 in Monte-Carlo, Monaco. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)

Villeneuve: Verstappen not bigger than Red Bull, Alonso in RB20 will win

MONTE-CARLO, MONACO - MAY 28: Race winner Max Verstappen of the Netherlands and Oracle Red Bull Racing and Second placed Fernando Alonso of Spain and Aston Martin F1 Team celebrate in parc ferme during the F1 Grand Prix of Monaco at Circuit de Monaco on May 28, 2023 in Monte-Carlo, Monaco. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)

Jacques Villeneuve warns that Max Verstappen should not ditch Red Bull for Mercedes, suggesting that as good as the triple Formula 1 World Champion is there are other drivers capable of winning in the RB20 – aka Fernando Alonso.

Hot on the heels of the Lewis Hamilton to Ferrari reality, the Verstappen-to-Mercedes rumour is mooted in the paddock amid the Christian Horner “sex-texting’ scandal that has engulfed Formula 1 and Red Bull team for the past month.

While the Australian Grand Prix revealed a chink in Verstappen’s armour, or brakes to be more specific, and led to his first DNF since Australia 2022. It had to come at some point. Now that Karma has collected from the triple World Champion, it is hard to bet against the #1 Red Bull romping to another ten victories.

In other words, with the right driver which Verstappen surely is but teammate Sergio Perez is not always, a driver around the Dutchman’s level would also be winning in the Red Bull RB20, another Adrian Newey & Co. masterpiece.

For Villeneuve, such a driver for Red Bull would be F1 veteran Fernando Alonso: “Would the team win without Verstappen? Probably. But Max is winning because he has an amazing car and Red Bull is winning because they have an amazing driver.

“But he is not the only amazing driver that exists. Put Alonso in that car and he would be winning as well,” suggested Villeneuve in an interview for OLBG.

Villeneuve: Who is to say that Horner is not the huge asset?

VALENCIA, SPAIN - FEBRUARY 03: (L-R) Red Bull Racing Team Principal Christian Horner talks to Red Bull Racing Chief Technical Officer Adrian Newey during day three of winter testing at the Ricardo Tormo Circuit on February 3, 2011 in Valencia, Spain. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Christian Horner;Adrian Newey

Weighing in on the Horner saga – which began in mid-February on the day the team launched the RB20 and still simmers on as the Team principal’s female accuser has appealed an internal Red Bull decision that exonerated the Briton, prompting Villeneuve to ask the question: “Who is to say that Horner is not the huge asset?

“He has been at the heart of the team for so long with a lot of championships under his belt. He has always managed to get the team to a winning standard. The decision on drivers was always Marko’s. But he was not running the team day to day. Would the team be as good without Horner? That is a difficult one.”

The fact that Horner came under such a personal attack could be rooted in the fact that he has not always seen eye to eye with Jos Verstappen, apart from some racing history apparently between them another smoking gun could be the day the team boss made it clear that Red Bull was not “Team Verstappen”.

Villeneuve continued: “Max is the image of Red Bull, so he is super important for them. Red Bull is Max and Max is Red Bull. The link is super strong. The same thing happened in the past with Sebastian Vettel. No one could imagine him driving in another team.

“It just looked weird. But when it happened people just went with it. And they ended up winning with someone else. So, a team is always bigger than the driver,” insisted the 1997 F1 World Champion.

Villeneuve: Toto Wolff doesn’t really want Verstappen

Villeneuve: Verstappen not bigger than Red Bull, Alonso in RB20 will win

As for the solution for Red Bull’s current crisis which triggered drooling from shameless Mercedes F1 boss Toto Wolff for Max’s services, Villeneuve ventured: “Horner should stay and vendetta must stop, Toto Wolff doesn’t really want Verstappen, he just wants to annoy Red Bull

“The thing that is really awful in this vendetta is those who get damaged by the fallout. That is Horner’s children when they go to school. That hasn’t been taken into account by anyone. The kids’ friends are reading all this on social media.

“Maybe it is because I have six kids, I can understand the effect it can have. But it seems as though because it is not directly F1, it doesn’t matter but is super important. Collateral damage should not exist for the family.

“It is difficult once it has been leaked but that is why it should all have been sorted out behind closed doors. But by doing that bystanders such as the kids are damaged. People who have nothing at all to do with it.”

Should Horner quit his position as Team Principal of Red Bull?

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 21: Oracle Red Bull Racing Team Principal Christian Horner and Max Verstappen of the Netherlands and Oracle Red Bull Racing embrace in the Paddock during previews ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Australia at Albert Park Circuit on March 21, 2024 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images) // Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool // SI202403210077 // Usage for editorial use only //

Amid calls for his resignation, among them Jos Verstappen’s voice loudest of all, the question is: Should Horner quit as Red Bull TP?

“That is normally what happens,” replied Villeneuve to the question.”But he hasn’t. And why should he? At some stage we might find he was 100% right and some people will not be happy. Or we might find we have been duped and he is 100% wrong. Right now, it hasn’t been done the proper way.

“It is only because this is F1 and the sport is so huge that people are talking about it. It’s chaos. Even when we try to read between the lines, it is impossible because there is just too much going on. Social media is out of control on this.

“Everybody has a take on what is right and wrong without really knowing the facts. That is so dangerous. A lot of judgments are being made but how can you make a judgment when you don’t know all the facts? People are being pushed into judgment knowing only snippets.

“It is very frustrating and dangerous when we don’t actually know the full picture. It has to end soon one way or another. We can’t have this thing dragging on and on,” insisted Villeneuve, an 11-time Grand Prix winner.

The 2025 F1 Silly Season got off to an early start, 1 February to be precise when the Hamilton to Ferrari news was made official from out of the blue. Made more turbulent with the Red Bull shenanigans, plus about half the drivers on the grid out of contract at this year’s end including Perez in the other Red Bull.

Double F1 World Champion, 42-year-old Alonso is among several drivers linked to the seat should The Verstappens do the unthinkable and defect to Mercedes. Should Max stay and Perez made surplus to requirements for Red Bull… Alonso in Blue? Watch this space!

Big Question: How are they gonna get rid of this floating ‘turd’ that still won’t flush for Red Bull?