Christian Horner will learn Red Bull fate before Bahrain GP

Red Bull's F1 team principal and CEO Christian Horner will find out what his future is after an investigation into alleged inappropriate behaviour concluded at the end of February 2024

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Red Bull are expected to give their verdict on an investigation into Formula 1 team principal Christian Horner for alleged inappropriate behaviour towards a female member of staff.

At the start of February 2024, Horner was placed under investigation by the Red Bull parent company and has carried out interviews as part of the process. Horner denies any allegations.

Red Bull are looking at an extensive report and are expected to make a decision before this week’s Bahrain Grand Prix, which starts with practice on Thursday and the race itself on Saturday.

“We could get a resolution on this on Tuesday or Wednesday. That’s the guidance I’m getting,” said Sky Sports News’ Craig Slater.

“There was an independent barrister appointed by Red Bull‘s parent company in Salzburg, Austria and they have conducted a through investigation with 50 to 60 hours of interviews with various staff members. It runs to something like 150 pages. That will go in front of the Red Bull board.

“It’s a three person board, a private company. Oliver Mintzlaff is the individual on that board to who Horner reports directly to – he’s the former chairman of football team RB Salzburg.

“There are also the shareholders of the company to consider – Mark Matezchitz, son of Dietrich Mateschitz who helped found the company – and Chalerm Yoovidhya, who is the 51 per cent shareholder in the Red Bull drinks company who is known to be a supporter of Horner.

“There has been lots of talk of various power battles going on behind the scenes, linked maybe to the way this investigation has unfolded. Ultimately, we have to disconnect the investigation from that and see what the board decides is the appropriate action to make.”

Helmut Marko and Christian Horner speak to each other in the garage | Mark Thompson / Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

Horner remains in Bahrain ahead of first F1 race

Horner has continued in his role as CEO and team principal of Red Bull despite the investigation, conducting media duties at Red Bull‘s launch and during pre-season testing. He is at the Bahrain International Circuit ahead of Thursday’s on-track action.

The 50-year-old has been in charge since Red Bull Racing was formed in 2005 but part of the fallout from his alleged inappropriate behaviour could be linked to disagreements with Red Bull advisor Helmut Marko and Max Verstappen‘s father, Jos Verstappen, according to the Dutch media.

De Telegraaf, who first broke the news about the Red Bull team boss, Horner was accused of sexual misconduct in December 2023.

The Dutch media outlet also say they have seen the sexually suggestive messages from Horner to the employee that were made over a considerable amount of time and stories were circulating the F1 paddock during the 2023 season.

Horner declined to comment on the investigation in the pre-season testing press conference on February 22 but Toto Wolff and Zak Brown both pointed out it was an issue for F1.

“I think it’s clear. Formula 1 and what the teams do, we stand for inclusion, equality, fairness, diversity and that’s not only talking about it but living it day in, day out,” Wolff told the press.

“And I think these are the standards we’re setting ourselves. We are a global sport, one of the most important sports platforms in the world, and we are role models.

“But having said that, there is a lot of speculation that’s been happening over the last weeks, speculation that we have heard of, and lots of things that are going on.

“I think what’s important in that stage, for a process with rigour. I think what Red Bull has started as an independent investigation, if this is done in the right way with transparency and with rigour. 

“I think that’s something that we need to look at, what the outcomes are and what it means for Formula 1, and how we can learn from that.

“Because we want to talk about racing cars and we want to talk about the sport rather than these kind of very critical topics, that are more than just a team’s issue, it’s a phenomenon or it’s an issue for all of Formula 1 and in general for every individual that works out there.”

Red Bull and Mercedes team principals Christian Horner and Toto Wolff in covnersation at the 2021 Bahrain GP | Mark Thompson/Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

Brown added: “They need to handle it swiftly because I don’t believe these are the type of headlines that Formula 1 wants or needs at this time.

McLaren holds themselves and all the men and women at McLaren to the highest standards. Obviously, diversity and equality and inclusion are extremely important to us, our partners, to everyone in Formula 1.

Red Bull corporation it appears has launched an investigation and all we hope and assume is that will be handled in a very transparent way.

“As FIA and Formula 1 has said, they need to handle it swiftly because I don’t believe these are the type of headlines that Formula 1 wants or needs at this time.

“I just think it’s important that it’s handled in a transparent way in which there is no doubt and no doubt whatsoever that it has been handled appropriately and whatever the conclusion is that that conclusion is handled in an appropriate, transparent manner.”

John Smith
John Smithhttps://total-motorsport.com
Editor at Total-Motorsport.com and all round Motorsport journalist specialising in Formula 1, IndyCar and Formula E.
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