F1

Christian Horner stays on in Red Bull role as grievance against him is dismissed

Red Bull Racing’s parent company said it was “confident that the investigation has been fair, rigorous and impartial”.

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner
Christian Horner Red Bull team principal Christian Horner (David Davies/PA)

Christian Horner will remain in his post as Red Bull team principal.

Red Bull Racing’s parent company Red Bull GmbH announced on February 5 that Horner was under investigation following an accusation of “inappropriate behaviour” by a female colleague.

Horner emphatically denied the claim and the 50-year-old, who arrived in Bahrain on Wednesday ahead of this weekend’s opening race of the Formula One season, will stay on as team principal of the British team.

Christian Horner, right, in Bahrain for last weekend’s Formula One testing (Darko Bandic/AP)
Christian Horner, right, in Bahrain for last weekend's Formula One testing Christian Horner, right, in Bahrain for last weekend’s Formula One testing (Darko Bandic/AP) (Darko Bandic/AP)

A statement from Red Bull GmbH read: “The independent investigation into the allegations made against Mr Horner is complete, and Red Bull can confirm that the grievance has been dismissed.

“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.”

Horner fully co-operated with the investigation, having been questioned by a lawyer for around eight hours earlier this month at a secret London location away from the team’s Milton Keynes headquarters.

During the internal probe, he continued to be present for official Red Bull activities – including the new car launch in Milton Keynes earlier this month, and also pre-season testing in Bahrain last week.

Asked whether he had considered temporarily stepping aside until the conclusion, Horner stressed it was “business as usual”.

He said: “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.”

Horner has been Red Bull team principal since they entered F1 19 years ago and is the longest-serving boss on the grid.

Under Horner’s leadership, he has overseen seven drivers’ world championships and six constructors’ titles at the British-based F1 team.

Max Verstappen has led Red Bull’s recent dominance in the sport
Max Verstappen has led Red Bull's recent dominance in the sport Max Verstappen has led Red Bull’s recent dominance in the sport (Nigel French/PA)

Red Bull have dominated the sport in recent seasons and last year won 21 of the 22 races – with Dutch driver Max Verstappen setting a new record for 10 consecutive victories.

Addressing the controversy surrounding Horner, seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton said on Wednesday: “We always have to do more to try to make the sport and the environment for people to work in feel safe and inclusive.

“Any allegations have to be taken very seriously. We don’t know everything that has gone on but it needs to be resolved because it is hanging over the sport.

“It will be interesting to see how it is dealt with, and the effect that it may or may not have on the sport moving forward.

“It is a really important moment for the sport to make sure that we stand true to our values.”

Christian Horner with wife Geri Horner
Christian Horner with wife Geri Horner Christian Horner with wife Geri Horner (Bradley Collyer/PA)

Horner, who is married to former Spice Girls singer Geri Halliwell, was awarded a CBE for his services to motorsport in the New Year Honours list.

He is due to be in the paddock on Thursday for practice ahead of Saturday’s opening round.

Verstappen, the favourite to win a fourth successive title, said before confirmation that Horner had been cleared of any wrongdoing: “He (Horner) is very important otherwise he wouldn’t have been in that position for such a long time.

“If your team boss disappears for one or two races, for whatever reason, not much is going to happen because everybody is in their role.

“Then things will start to be different if one of the leaders is not there anymore, but we are not thinking like that.

“We trust the process and we have to see what the outcome will be. Besides that, everyone is focused on what happens on track and we are in a good mood to get going again.”