Christian Horner: Red Bull F1 team principal speaks publicly for first time after inappropriate behaviour allegations

Christian Horner speaks to Sky Sports News at the launch of Red Bull’s 2024 F1 car; Horner reiterates his denial of inappropriate behaviour allegations amid ongoing Red Bull investigation; Red Bull team boss also denies claims of rifts with the Verstappens and Austrian parent company

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Amid an ongoing investigation into allegations of inappropriate behaviour, Christian Horner defends his position at Red Bull by saying ‘it’s business as usual’

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner has spoken publicly for the first time since being placed under investigation by the Formula 1 team’s parent company following an accusation of inappropriate behaviour.

Horner attended the launch of Red Bull’s new car for the 2024 season in an event at their Milton Keynes base on Thursday.

The 50-year-old publicly denied the allegations for the first time. He has previously denied the accusations “entirely”.

  • ‘No resolution’ to Christian Horner investigation after first interview

Horner, who has been at the helm of Red Bull’s F1 team since its launch in 2005, is the subject of an ongoing investigation by the Formula 1 team’s Austrian parent company Red Bull GmbH following allegations of inappropriate behaviour being made against him by a colleague.

Horner was interviewed on Friday in London by the external specialist barrister carrying out the investigation. No resolution on the matter was reached during that first interview.

Horner reiterates denial and says he is ‘working with the process’

In an interview with Sky Sports News, Horner was asked if had considered temporarily stepping aside from his role at Red Bull Racing – where he holds the dual position of team principal and CEO – during the course of the investigation into the allegations made against him.

“No. It’s business as usual,” he said.

“There obviously is a process.

“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’s appearance at the team’s launch of their 20th F1 car was his first at a public event since the investigation was confirmed by Red Bull last week.

Asked in a separate media session why he had opted to still attend the launch amid spotlight on him, Horner replied: “I’ve denied the allegations. For me it’s business as normal.

“I’m confident in that. If I wasn’t, I wouldn’t be here.”

He said he had been working daily at the factory since returning from the Christmas break on January 8 and that he would be in Bahrain for the first race of the new season on March 2.

The Red Bull team boss also said that he had been “overwhelmed” by the support he had been given by those “within the business, of our partners and within the industry”.

On the investigation, Horner said that “I can’t comment on what that process consists” and added: “I’m confident obviously in the process and working with the process and deny absolutely any allegations being made. I just continue to obviously work within that process until it’s concluded.”

Horner said he remained “fully committed to this team” which he has led for 19 years.

“I have built this team, I’ve convinced people to come here and work here, I enjoy working with the team and with the people,” he said.

“The biggest asset of this team is the people and that continues to be the case.”

Horner denies claims of rifts with Verstappens, Red Bull hierarchy

Image: Christian Horner in conversation with Max Verstappen and his father Jos in the paddock at the Qatar GP in 2023

Speaking to Sky Sports News, Horner also denied media reports which have surfaced in recent days claiming the existence of tension between key figures at the world championship-winning team.

Asked if there was any friction between himself and Max and Jos Verstappen, Horner said: “No not at all. I was with Jos and Max at Silverstone a couple of days ago.

“Max is very focused on his job. He’s been very supportive and I’m looking forward to the season ahead with him.”

Max Verstappen, Red Bull’s triple world champion driver, said his relationship with his team boss was “like normal”.

“It is very good,” said Verstappen in a separate media session at the launch.

“We have seen each other quite a couple of times, I’ve been on the simulator, he was also there when we were filming. We have achieved a lot of things together so that doesn’t change suddenly.”

Meanwhile, on his relationship with Helmut Marko, Red Bull’s motorsport advisor, Horner said: “There’s always going to be speculation but we’re together as one team, that’s the way we’ve always been and that’s the way we continue to be.”

And with the investigation coming against the backdrop of reports of an alleged ‘power struggle’ between the Red Bull team in Milton Keynes and the board at the parent company in Austria following the death of company co-owner Dietrich Mateschitz in October 2022, Horner insisted: “We’re one team, we’re one group.

“The support from the shareholders has been phenomenal and without that support we wouldn’t be here. So no, that’s not correct.”

Analysis of Horner’s attendance at Red Bull launch

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Red Bull’s Christian Horner has spoken for the first time since allegations of inappropriate behaviour emerged, with Sky Sports News’ Craig Slater providing his reaction.

After attending Red Bull’s car unveiling event and conducting Sky Sports News’ interview with Christian Horner, F1 reporter Craig Slater gave his assessment on the situation:

“You would have got good odds early last week that Christian Horner would not have had anything to do with this launch because senior figures within Formula 1 were briefing me that they expected his resignation within a matter of days.

“He is being investigated at the moment for allegations of inappropriate behaviour. We are talking about alleged controlling and coercive behaviour with a female member of staff. He was interviewed about the matter last Friday.

“We don’t get of course to delve into the detail of what he has been accused of because that is under investigation at the moment, but we did speak about why he has continued in his role, why he maintains his innocence in all of this and also what is to some people significant background to this. That is an alleged power struggle going on at Red Bull between Horner and the board of the company based in Austria and also a perceived rift between Horner and the Verstappens, world champion Max and his father Jos.

“Horner looked exhausted at the launch, without question. Remember, this is someone who is normally very quick-witted and very on the front foot in any kind of verbal exchanges. He sounded very subdued. I think partly that is deliberate, he knows this is a serious matter.

“Of course, we have to remember that we are only hearing chiefly his side of the story. There is another party in all of this, his sole accuser, a female member of Red Bull staff, but for obvious reasons we are not hearing her side of the story.

“Horner said off camera that his wife Geri, the former Spice Girl, had been a great support.

“He is determined to to see this through. It impressed a lot of people that he was there, he went through the entirety of the launch, and he has been carrying out his job as normal. He is determined to press ahead. He also said off camera that if he wasn’t convinced of his innocence he wouldn’t be there today.”


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