MILTON KEYNES, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 15: Max Verstappen of the Netherlands and Oracle Red Bull Racing, Sergio Perez of Mexico and Oracle Red Bull Racing and Red Bull Racing Team Principal Christian Horner stand with the RB20 during the Oracle Red Bull Racing RB20 car launch at Red Bull Racing Factory on February 15, 2024 in Milton Keynes, England. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images for Red Bull Racing) // SI202402150752 // Usage for editorial use only //

Horner: I deny the allegations, for me it’s business as usual

MILTON KEYNES, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 15: Max Verstappen of the Netherlands and Oracle Red Bull Racing, Sergio Perez of Mexico and Oracle Red Bull Racing and Red Bull Racing Team Principal Christian Horner stand with the RB20 during the Oracle Red Bull Racing RB20 car launch at Red Bull Racing Factory on February 15, 2024 in Milton Keynes, England. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images for Red Bull Racing) // SI202402150752 // Usage for editorial use only //

Red Bull team boss Christian Horner said it was “business as usual” as an internal company inquiry into undisclosed allegations about his conduct hung over the Formula 1 champions’ 2024 RB20 car launch on Thursday.

Horner was as much in the spotlight as the shiny RB20 machine as he broke silence and faced the media for the first time since the emergence of accusations that threaten his future.

Taking centre stage at the Red Bull factory for a presentation celebrating the team’s 20 years in Formula One, with seven drivers’ titles and six constructors’ championships, Horner suggested the future looked bright.

The elephant in the room was not ignored for long, with 50-year-old Horner carrying out television interviews and media sessions and making clear he was still planning to be around for the long term: “I deny the allegations, for me it’s business as usual, I’m confident in that. If I wasn’t, I wouldn’t be here.

“I don’t want to talk about the process. My focus and commitment is to the people and to the team and making sure that we’re in the best shape possible for the season ahead. You can see that we’ve got a car that looks a great evolution from last year and we’re going to have some very competitive rivals that are looking to beat us.

“My focus is very much on Bahrain next week,” added F1’s longest-serving principal, at the helm of RBR since their debut as a Constructor in 2005.

Horner: I’ve never seen a team more together or more supportive than it is

MILTON KEYNES, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 15: Red Bull Racing Team Principal Christian Horner talks with Adrian Newey, the Chief Technical Officer of Red Bull Racing and David Coulthar during the Oracle Red Bull Racing RB20 car launch at Red Bull Racing Factory on February 15, 2024 in Milton Keynes, England. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images for Red Bull Racing) // SI202402150768 // Usage for editorial use only //

F1 Testing starts on 21 February before the season-opener Bahrain Grand Prix a week later. Red Bull won all but one of the races last season with Dutch driver Max Verstappen taking his third title in a row.

Horner, who is married to former Spice Girls singer Geri Halliwell, would not discuss the allegations against him or a hearing that took place last week, and reporters were warned against asking.

Media reports have indicated the complaint related to inappropriate behaviour of a controlling nature towards a female member of staff. The independent investigation was launched by Red Bull Austria, who have not disclosed where the complaint came from or what it was about. Sources have suggested the process could rumble on for some time.

Horner, who attended a shakedown of the new car behind closed doors at Silverstone on Tuesday, said he was “absolutely committed” to the team.

Asked whether he expected to be in Bahrain, Horner replied: “I am confident in the process and working with the process deny absolutely any allegation that’s been made against me.”

He said he had continued going to work as usual and felt ‘overwhelming’ support: “Moments of uncertainty, it brings a team together and I’ve never seen a team more together or more supportive than it is.

“Everybody’s focused on one thing, which is the performance of that car to go out and defend both the world titles that we’ve worked so hard to achieve over the last couple of years. The car is what everyone is invested in,” insisted Horner.

Verstappen, speaking separately to reporters, said the team spirit was better than ever and his relationship with Horner unchanged: “We’ve achieved a lot of things together so that doesn’t change suddenly.” (Reporting by Alan Baldwin)