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Horner: I have attended every GP, people need to see the boss

Horner’s Red Bull and F1 future in jeopardy as more details emerge

Horner: I have attended every GP, people need to see the boss

Christian Horner’s future as Red Bull Formula 1 team principal is almost at breaking point, as more details emerge regarding an investigation into his conduct, involving a female employee of the World Champion team.

It is clear Horner is doing everything in his power to maintain his innocence, the fact that an outside adjudicator has been convened by Red Bull to conduct the investigation suggests the team is also taking the allegations mighty seriously. The outcome is make or break for the 50-year-old Briton.

De Telegraaf broke the original story regarding the internal complaint against Horner which they now claim, is a case of sexual misconduct based on WhatsApp transcripts their reporters have been privy to.

The Dutch publication reports: “The app traffic between the female Red Bull employee and Horner, seen by De Telegraaf, shows that Horner  has regularly sent sexually suggestive messages to the employee over a considerable period.”

The De Telegraaf report adds that on 2 February, Horner’s lawyers made a £650,000 ($750,000) settlement offer to the female employee’s legal team. It also adds details of allegations regarding Horner’s sexual misconduct which happened “regularly and over a significant period of time.”

Despite the storm, Horner was present at the team’s launch last week and played a high profile in the F1 team’s presentation of the new RB20 car. Also present were Red Bull drivers triple F1 World Champion Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez as well as technical boss Adrian Newey.

Speaking to reporters on the day of the launch and shakedown, Horner was adamant: “I deny anything, any of the allegations that have been made, so for me it’s absolutely business as normal, focusing on the season ahead.”

Are the allegations against the Red Bull F1 boss of a sexual nature?

ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - NOVEMBER 26: Pierre Wache, Chief Engineer of Performance Engineering at Red Bull Racing, Red Bull Racing Team Principal Christian Horner, Red Bull Racing Team Consultant Dr Helmut Marko and Red Bull Racing Sporting Director Jonathan Wheatley pose at the Red Bull Racing Team Photo prior to the F1 Grand Prix of Abu Dhabi at Yas Marina Circuit on November 26, 2023 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)

However, should the allegations be beyond bullying or being a hard boss and indeed of a sexual nature, it is sure Horner will not stay in the post much longer. The evidence is becoming increasingly hard to ignore However, he is innocent until proven guilty.

Nevertheless, whatever transpires (guilty or not) this is a scandal no organisation ever needs, less so an F1 team prepping for the 2024 season ahead. Testing this week! Simply awkward for all involved no matter how you look at it.

Horner is staunchly fighting his corner, taking centre stage at the launch and present during the shakedown at Silverstone sticking to his “business as usual” stance.

The saga has of course reached the offices of Liberty Media who said in a related statement: “We have noted that Red Bull have instigated an independent investigation into internal allegations at Red Bull Racing. We hope that the matter will be clarified at the earliest opportunity, after a fair and thorough process, and we will not comment further at this time.”

As for a timeline, British media report that the investigation was conducted by an external arbitrator brought in by Red Bull GmBH, with findings expected Friday. These will then be sent to the Red Bull board to decide on what action to take with Horner. If any is indeed required.

F1 testing begins in Bahrain this Wednesday, with Horner expected to be there as he has been since he took up the team principal role at RBR in 2005. But will he be on the Red Bull pitwall for much longer? Watch this space.

Big Question: What next for Christian Horner and the role of Red Bull team boss?