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Horner breaks silence: Red Bull have ‘never been stronger’

Christian Horner has spoken for the first time since allegations of inappropriate behaviour made against him were dismissed.

Horner was placed under investigation by Red Bull’s Austrian parent company Red Bull GmbH after allegations were made against him by a female colleague, who has the right to appeal the verdict.

The 50-year-old has denied the allegations throughout the process and was present at the reigning constructors’ champions 2024 car launch and pre-season testing in Bahrain last week.

“I’m just pleased that the process is over,” Horner told Sky Sports News.

“Obviously, I can’t comment about it, but we are here very much to focus now on the Grand Prix and the season ahead and trying to defend both of our titles.”

Asked if he thought it was the end of the matter, he added: “Well, I can’t give you any further comment, but the process has been conducted and concluded.”

Red Bull GmbH released a statement confirming the conclusion of the investigation on Wednesday, less than 24 hours before the cars take to the track for the first time at the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix.

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Red Bull team principal Christian Horner will remain in charge for the opening race of the 2024 F1 season in Bahrain on Saturday after allegations against him were dismissed

Horner, who has been in charge of Red Bull since the team formed in 2005, was asked if he had any regrets that the matter came into the public domain.

“Again, I’m not going to be able to give you I’m afraid any further comments on it, but I’m pleased to be here in Bahrain and then with the team focused on the season ahead,” he said.

Asked if the team is unified, he added: “Within the team it has never been stronger.”

How Horner investigation evolved

Horner has been in charge of Red Bull Racing since it formed in 2005 and has led the squad to seven drivers’ titles and six constructors’ triumphs in 19 seasons.

He attended an interview on February 9 with the external specialist barrister carrying out the investigation, but no resolution on the matter was reached at that stage.

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Sky Sports F1’s Martin Brundle, Damon Hill and Naomi Schiff react to Red Bull’s statement that Christian Horner will continue in his role as Red Bull team principal after allegations of inappropriate behaviour made against him were dismissed

Attending the team’s car launch six days later at their Milton Keynes base, Horner addressed the media for the first time since the allegations became public, and reiterated his denial.

He also spoke in the team bosses’ press conference during pre-season testing on February 23 before Red Bull GmbH cleared Horner after allegations of inappropriate behaviour made against him

“The independent investigation into the allegations made against Mr Horner is complete, and Red Bull can confirm that the grievance has been dismissed,” the company said in a statement.

“The complainant has a right of appeal. Red Bull is confident that the investigation has been fair, rigorous and impartial.

“The investigation report is confidential and contains the private information of the parties and third parties who assisted in the investigation, and therefore we will not be commenting further out of respect for all concerned. Red Bull will continue striving to meet the highest workplace standards.”

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Max Verstappen says Christian Horner’s investigation doesn’t affect him and he is instead focused on the performance of the car

Decision comes on eve of 2024 F1 season

The discussion around the investigation had been dominating the agenda ahead of Saturday’s opening 2024 race in Bahrain, with Formula 1 and some of Horner’s counterparts having called for a swift resolution.

At Wednesday’s drivers’ press conference, before Red Bull GmbH’s announcement, Lewis Hamilton became the latest key figure to have his say on the matter, describing the situation as “a really important moment” for F1.

“I think it’s a difficult one to answer, naturally,” seven-time world champion Hamilton said.

“We always have to do more to try and make the sport and the environment that people get to work in feel safe and inclusive and any allegations have to be taken very seriously.

“Obviously we don’t know everything that’s gone on, but it does need to be resolved as it’s hanging over the sport. It will be really interesting to see how it’s dealt with moving forwards and the affect that it may or may not have on the sport moving forwards.

“I think it’s a really important moment for the sport to make sure that we stand true to our values.”

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Lewis Hamilton described the investigation into alleged inappropriate behaviour by Red Bull team principal Christian Horner as a “really important moment” for F1

Alongside Hamilton in the press conference was Red Bull driver Max Verstappen, who insisted that the situation wasn’t affecting his preparations for his title defence.

“It doesn’t,” Verstappen said when asked if the saga was impacting him. “I’m very focused on just the performance of the car and myself. Hopefully it will be resolved very soon.”

Despite turning down the opportunity to give his backing to Horner remaining with the team, Verstappen said that the 50-year-old is “very important” to Red Bull’s success.

“I think he is very important otherwise he wouldn’t be in that position for such a long time,” Verstappen said.

“Let’s say if your team boss disappears for whatever reason for one or two races, not much is going to happen because everyone is in their role and they know what they have to do in the short term.

“But it’s all about people management over time. And then of course things will start to be different if one of the leaders starts to not be there anymore.

“But we are not thinking like that. Like I said before, we just trust the process that we are in as a team to see what the outcome will be and besides that, at the moment, everyone is just very focused on the performance here at the track and everyone is in a good mood and just excited to get going again.”

Sky Sports F1’s live Bahrain GP schedule

Thursday February 29

  • 11am: Bahrain GP Practice One (session starts at 11.30am)
  • 12.55pm: F3 Qualifying
  • 1.40pm: F2 Qualifying
  • 2.35pm: Bahrain GP Practice Two (session starts at 3pm)
  • 4.15pm: The F1 Show

Friday March 1

  • 10.10am: F3 Sprint Race
  • 12.15pm: Bahrain GP Practice Three (session starts at 12.30pm)
  • 2.10pm: F2 Sprint
  • 3.10pm: Bahrain GP Qualifying build-up
  • 4pm: BAHRAIN GP QUALIFYING
  • 6pm: Ted’s Qualifying Notebook

Saturday March 2

  • 8.55am: F3 Feature Race
  • 10.25am: F2 Feature Race
  • 1.30pm: Bahrain GP build-up: Grand Prix Saturday
  • 3pm: THE BAHRAIN GRAND PRIX
  • 5pm: Bahrain GP reaction: Chequered Flag
  • 6pm: Ted’s Notebook
  • 6.30pm: Bahrain GP highlights

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