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Red Bull star Max Verstappen defends his father after Horner criticism, says he is 'not a liar'

JEDDAH, Saudi Arabia (AP) — Three-time defending Formula 1 champion Max Verstappen defended his father amid turmoil at Red Bull and addressed speculation Wednesday that he could switch to Mercedes next season when Lewis Hamilton joins Ferrari.

Jos Verstappen said over the weekend that his son's team will “ explode ” if Christian Horner remains in charge after the Red Bull team principal's alleged behavior toward a team employee. The younger Verstappen said his father has always been outspoken.

“He is not a liar, that’s for sure,” Max Verstappen said in comments reported by the UK-based Press Association ahead of this weekend's Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.

Last week, the team’s parent company dismissed a complaint of alleged misconduct by Horner toward an unidentified team employee. A day later, a file alleged to contain evidence against Horner was emailed to nearly 200 people in the F1 paddock, including Liberty Media, F1, the FIA, the other nine team principals and multiple media outlets.

Horner has denied any wrongdoing and remained in place for season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix, which featured a dominating win by Verstappen. Jos Verstappen's comments came after the race.

Verstappen, in pursuit of his fourth straight F1 championship, said he wants “a quiet environment where everyone is happy to work.” The Dutch driver is under contract with Red bull until 2028 but said Hamilton's surprise switch from Mercedes to Ferrari — in 2025 — is proof that anything can happen.

"Nobody would have seen that Lewis would move to Ferrari,” Verstappen said. “You never know in general life what happens, or comes to you, or happens around you or what might influence you, so you can never say 100% that that is how it is going to be, and that is the way I approach my life.

“But I am very relaxed and very happy at the team and the performance is there, so there is no reason to leave.”

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