Formula 1 world braces itself for another seismic news story as Red Bull has launched an internal investigation into allegations against team principal Christian Horner, with reports now suggesting that he’s been asked to voluntarily step down form his role.
The nature of the allegations remains shrouded in ambiguity. However, reports from De Telegraaf and F1-Insider.com, hint at “behaviour which was over the line” towards an employee within the Red Bull team.
Now, German outlet Motorsport-Total.com reports that a dossier allegedly containing incriminating evidence against Horner is said to be with Red Bull‘s headquarters in Fuschl, Austria. This document is at the heart of the ongoing internal review, with Red Bull‘s top brass deliberating on the next steps and possible repercussions for Horner.
Amidst this turmoil Motorsport-Total.com indicate that Horner was informally encouraged to step down from his role voluntarily. However, he has resisted these suggestions. The specifics of these allegations, while known to Motorsport-Total.com, the German publication has chosen to withhold them to protect the privacy of all individuals involved.
Another German newspaper, Bild, have also reported that Horner sent ‘inappropriate’ pictures to a member of Red Bull staff.
The Associated Press offered a different picture by suggesting that the claims are actually related to his aggressive management style, but they did not offer any further context as to what that might mean.
Despite the serious nature of these accusations, the principle of presumed innocence remains central to the investigation’s process. Horner, meanwhile, denies the accusations and professed his innocence to De Telegraaf, but is not offering further comment and likewise with Red Bull.
Even Helmut Marko, the outspoken advisor to the racing team, refused to comment when he was asked on the unfolding events.
Internal struggle at Red Bull
This development comes against the backdrop of an internal power struggle at Red Bull, notably between Horner and Red Bull‘s motorsport consultant, Helmut Marko, a conflict first reported in October 2023.
Interestingly, in January, Red Bull announced an extension of Marko‘s contract until the end of 2026, suggesting a temporary resolution to their internal disagreements.
“Following the recent allegations coming to light,” Red Bull GmbH said in a statement. “The company has launched an independent investigation. This process, which is already underway, is being conducted by an external specialist lawyer.
“The company is taking this matter very seriously and the investigation will be finalized as soon as possible. It would not be appropriate to comment further at this time.”