Christian Horner back in F1 paddock amid scrutiny over his Red Bull future

Embattled Red Bull team principal Christian Horner is back in the Formula One paddock for qualifying ahead of Saturday’s Bahrain Grand Prix.

Horner’s future is again in the spotlight after hundreds of WhatsApp messages appearing to be written by him to a female colleague were leaked.

On Wednesday, Horner was cleared to continue as Red Bull team principal following an internal probe into “inappropriate behaviour” by the F1 team’s parent company Red Bull GmbH. He has always denied the claims.

But just 24 hours later, messages and a number of images apparently exchanged between Horner and the complainant were sent from an anonymous email account to 149 members of the F1 paddock – including FIA president Mohammed ben Sulayem, F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali and the grid’s nine other team principals, as well as members of the media – on the eve of this weekend’s season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix.

Horner said in a statement: “I will not comment on anonymous speculation, but to reiterate I have always denied the allegations.

“I respected the integrity of the independent investigation and fully cooperated with it every step of the way.

“It was a thorough and fair investigation conducted by an independent specialist barrister and it has concluded dismissing the complaint made.

“I remain fully focused on the start of the season.”

On Friday, Horner (50) was seen speaking to a Formula One official at the front of Red Bull Racing’s hospitality suite.

F1 and its governing body, the FIA, are considering whether to get involved in the controversy that’s engulfed the sport.

It is understood that neither F1’s American owners Liberty Media, nor its regulator the FIA, has seen Red Bull GmbH’s report into Horner, which is thought to stretch to 150 pages – and was said to be “confidential”.

Third practice begins at 3.30pm local time (12.30pm Irish time), with qualifying for Saturday’s 57-lap race due to get under way at 7pm (4pm Irish time).


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