McLaren boss Zak Brown demands Red Bull ‘transparency’ as Christian Horner investigation rumbles on

Christian Horner is facing an internal Red Bull investigation regarding 'inappropriate behaviour' towards a female employee

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McLaren CEO Zak Brown has called on the FIA and Formula 1 to ensure that Red Bull carry out their investigation into Christian Horner in a “transparent way”, describing the allegations against the team principal as “extremely serious”.

Horner, 50, is facing an internal investigation pertaining to alleged aggressive behaviour after an official complaint was lodged internally with the company by a female Red Bull staff member,. The Briton, who has been in charge of the team since it was founded in 2005, has denied the allegations against him.

The investigation now looks set to continue for a third week and possibly into the 2024 season, with Horner’s future still uncertain. In the meantime, Brown has reiterated the need for transparency from all parties involved in the process.

“The allegations are extremely serious. McLaren holds themselves and all the men and women declared to the highest standards… obviously diversity and equality inclusion are extremely important to us, our partners and to everyone in Formula One,” Brown said.

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

“The FIA and Formula One is set up to handle that swiftly because I don’t believe these are the type of headlines that form one wants or needs at this time, and I just think it’s important that it’s handled in a transparent way, in which there’s no doubt and no doubt whatsoever that it’s been handled appropriately.

“And whatever the conclusion is, that conclusion is handled in an appropriate, transparent manner.”

Red Bull Racing Team Principal Christian Horner ahead of the 2023 Mexico City Grand Prix | Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

Horner staying tight-lipped

A hearing was held at the Austrian team’s headquarters in which Horner was grilled by independent lawyers for several hours regarding the allegations against him.

But the team’s special advisor, Helmut Marko, has insisted they cannot rush the investigation as they must ensure a fair process is followed in examining the case against Horner.

“As you know, this is an internal investigation,” Marko told Red Bull’s ServusTV channel. “The sooner a result is available, the better because of course, rumours and other stories are bound to sprout due to the long duration.

“I think Red Bull has reacted very well in this matter. The long duration of this investigation is not their fault. They are endeavouring to [have] a fair investigation and then react accordingly.”

Sitting next to Brown in the team principals’ conference, Horner said he was unable to comment on the matter as he is “a part of” the process. But speculation persists that F1 chiefs are expecting him to be leave the team, with Red Bull sporting director Jonathan Wheatley mentioned as a possible candidate to replace him.

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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