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F1 urges Red Bull to clarify Horner situation ‘at earliest opportunity’

Formula 1 has urged Red Bull to provide clarity on an ongoing investigation into team principal Christian Horner at the “earliest opportunity”.

Earlier this month Horner was placed under investigation by the F1 team’s Austrian parent company Red Bull GmbH following an allegation of inappropriate behaviour being made against him by a colleague.

The 50-year-old, who denies the allegations, attended an interview on February 9 with the external specialist barrister carrying out the investigation. No resolution on the matter was reached during that first interview.

Horner then on February 15 attended Red Bull’s 2024 car launch, at which he addressed the media for the first time since the allegations became public, and reiterated his denial.

With pre-season testing set to begin on Wednesday ahead of the opening race of the year in Bahrain on March 2, F1 made its first official comments on the matter on Sunday.

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Following an investigation into allegations of inappropriate behaviour, Christian Horner defends his position at Red Bull by saying ‘it’s business as usual’.

“We have noted Red Bull has instigated an independent investigation into internal allegations at Red Bull Racing,” the statement said.

“We hope matter will be clarified at earliest opportunity, after a fair and thorough process. Will not comment further at this time.”

Horner reiterates denial at Red Bull launch

In an interview with Sky Sports News at Red Bull’s launch on Thursday, Horner was asked if had considered temporarily stepping aside from his role – where he holds the dual position of team principal and CEO – during the course of the investigation into the allegations made against him.

“No. It’s business as usual,” he said.

“There obviously is a process.

“Obviously, I fully deny any accusations that have been made against me but of course I’ll work with that process, which I hope is concluded in the near future.”

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Red Bull’s Christian Horner has spoken for the first time since allegations of inappropriate behaviour emerged, with Sky F1’s Craig Slater providing his reaction.

Horner is F1’s longest serving team principal and has led Red Bull to six constructors’ titles since the Milton Keynes squad’s debut season in 2005.

Asked in a separate media session why he had opted to still attend the launch amid spotlight on him, Horner replied: “I’ve denied the allegations. For me it’s business as normal.

“I’m confident in that. If I wasn’t, I wouldn’t be here.”

He said he had been working daily at the factory since returning from the Christmas break on January 8 and that he would be in Bahrain for the first race of the new season.

The Red Bull team boss also said that he had been “overwhelmed” by the support he had been given by those “within the business, of our partners and within the industry”.

On the investigation, Horner said that “I can’t comment on what that process consists” and added: “I’m confident obviously in the process and working with the process and deny absolutely any allegations being made. I just continue to obviously work within that process until it’s concluded.”

Horner said he remained “fully committed to this team” which he has led for 19 years.

“I have built this team, I’ve convinced people to come here and work here, I enjoy working with the team and with the people,” he said.

“The biggest asset of this team is the people and that continues to be the case.”

Horner denies claims of rifts with Verstappens, Red Bull hierarchy

Speaking to Sky Sports News, Horner also denied media reports which have surfaced claiming the existence of tension between key figures at the world championship-winning team.

Asked if there was any friction between himself and Max Verstappen, or the three-time reigning world champion’s father Jos, Horner said: “No not at all. I was with Jos and Max at Silverstone a couple of days ago.

SILVERSTONE CIRCUIT, UNITED KINGDOM - JULY 08: Christian Horner, Team Principal, Red Bull Racing during the British GP at Silverstone Circuit on Saturday July 08, 2023 in Northamptonshire, United Kingdom. (Photo by James Sutton / Sutton Images)

“Max is very focused on his job. He’s been very supportive and I’m looking forward to the season ahead with him.”

Max Verstappen, Red Bull’s triple world champion driver, said his relationship with his team boss was “like normal”.

“It is very good,” said Verstappen in a separate media session at the launch.

“We have seen each other quite a couple of times, I’ve been on the simulator, he was also there when we were filming. We have achieved a lot of things together so that doesn’t change suddenly.”

Meanwhile, on his relationship with Helmut Marko, Red Bull’s motorsport advisor, Horner said: “There’s always going to be speculation but we’re together as one team, that’s the way we’ve always been and that’s the way we continue to be.”

And with the investigation coming against the backdrop of reports of an alleged ‘power struggle’ between the Red Bull team in Milton Keynes and the board at the parent company in Austria following the death of company co-owner Dietrich Mateschitz in October 2022, Horner insisted: “We’re one team, we’re one group.

“The support from the shareholders has been phenomenal and without that support we wouldn’t be here. So no, that’s not correct.”

Sky News
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