Coy Christian Horner gives first interview after alleged leak as Red Bull boss called into FIA meeting

Christian Horner was summonded to a meeting wtih FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem during FP3 at the 2024 Bahrain GP

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Red Bull team principal Christian Horner refused to be drawn on “anonymous speculation” after a leak purportedly containing material allegedly relating to an investigation from which he was cleared by the team was sent out on Thursday.

Horner was summoned for a meeting with FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem on Friday, midway through the third free practice (FP3) session at the 2024 Bahrain Grand Prix – they were spotted by TV cameras speaking in the Red Bull garage.

It is reported the FIA and F1 – owned by Liberty Media – are keen for a resolution on the matter after Red Bull concluded their own independent investigation.

When asked for a comment on the alleged leak, Horner, 50, kept his cards close to his chest but appeared to dismiss the authenticity of the material sent out to official F1 sources, including rival teams and high-ranking bosses.

“I’m not able to comment on anonymous speculation from unknown sources, I followed the process in full which was completed in a thorough way, the result of which was the grievance was dismissed,” Horner said in an interview with Sky Germany.

When asked what the next step is, he replied: “I’m going to go racing.”

Horner facing more scrutiny

Sky Sports‘ pitlane reporter Ted Kravitz later confirmed he wasn’t on the pit wall during FP3 because he was meeting Ben Sulayem, before Horner made his way back shortly after.

There is no indication of what they had discussed, but on Wednesday, Red Bull GmbH – the F1 team’s parent company – released a statement confirming they’d completed their investigation into complaints of inappropriate behaviour against Horner made by a female team employee and cleared the boss of any wrongdoing.

However, messages and images allegedly sent between the pair were sent anonymously to the press, then leaked the public and that’s helped keep the story in the headlines.

The FIA‘s International Sporting Code does give Ben Sulayem the power to intervene, which could see Horner face further scrutiny despite the conclusion of his team’s investigation.

It remains to be seen how Red Bull will continue to handle the process if Horner is placed under a separate investigation by the FIA, but the issue did not appear to distract Max Verstappen or Sergio Perez on track as the drivers finished FP3 in third and eighth respectively.

Joe Krishnan
Joe Krishnan
Joe Krishnan is an NCTJ-qualified journalist who has worked for a number of media organisations, including the Daily Express, The Mirror, Evening Standard, The Independent and Bleacher Report. Joe has been following F1 since when he watched Mika Hakkinen clinch the 1999 drivers' championship, and his first taste of real-life racing action was watching David Coulthard spin off into the gravel at the British Grand Prix at Silverstone in 2001.
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