F1

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner cleared of ‘inappropriate behaviour’

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

Christian Horner has spent 19 years as Red Bull team principal
Christian Horner Christian Horner has spent 19 years as Red Bull team principal (Bradley Collyer/PA)

Christian Horner will continue as team principal of the Red Bull Formula One team after he was cleared of “inappropriate behaviour”.

Red Bull Racing’s parent company Red Bull GmbH announced on February 5 that Horner was under investigation following an accusation made against him 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 season – has been cleared of wrongdoing.

Red Bull GmbH said it was confident the investigation had been “fair, rigorous and impartial”, but added that the report – understood to stretch to 150 pages – is “confidential”.

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

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff had called for the investigation to be conducted with transparency – but no details of the allegations against Horner were reported.

Horner has made no public comment. He is expected to be on Red Bull’s pit-wall in Bahrain for practice on Thursday. The complainant also has a right to appeal against the verdict.

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, who has protested his innocence throughout, was questioned by a lawyer for eight hours earlier this month at a secret London location.

During the internal probe, he continued to be present for official Red Bull activities – including a car launch in Milton Keynes earlier this month – where he insisted it was “business as usual” – and also pre-season testing in Bahrain last week.

Horner flew back to England as he awaited his fate before heading back to the Gulf kingdom on a private jet on Wednesday.

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

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)

He has overseen seven drivers’ world championships and six constructors’ titles.

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 as he wrapped up his third title.

Addressing the controversy surrounding Horner, seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton said earlier 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.

Horner is married to former Spice Girl Geri Horner
Christian Horner with wife Geri Horner Horner is married to former Spice Girl Geri Horner (Bradley Collyer/PA)

“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.”

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.

Verstappen said before Horner had been cleared of any wrongdoing: “He is very important otherwise he wouldn’t have been in that position for such a long time.

“Everyone is focused on what happens on track and we are in a good mood to get going again.”