Christian Horner: Red Bull team principal ‘absolutely’ expects to remain in charge for Saudi Arabian GP

Allegations of inappropriate behaviour against Red Bull boss Christian Horner were dismissed following an investigation launched by the team’s parent company; Horner reiterated his denial after material purporting to be the alleged evidence in the investigation was leaked on Thursday

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Christian Horner is confident he will lead Red Bull in Jeddah next week

Christian Horner says he expects to remain Red Bull team principal for next week’s Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.

Horner was the main focus of attention at Formula 1’s season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix following an investigation into allegations of inappropriate behaviour made against him.

Red Bull GmbH, the parent company of the reigning constructors’ champions, announced on Wednesday that the grievance made against Horner by a female colleague had been dismissed following an external investigation carried out by a specialist barrister. The claimant retains the right to appeal.

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Horner, who denied the allegations throughout the process, came under renewed pressure on Thursday as material purporting to be the alleged evidence in the investigation into his conduct was leaked to numerous media organisations and F1 team principals from an anonymous email account.

Image: Christian Horner watched the Bahrain GP podium ceremony with Red Bull owner Chalerm Yoovidhya and his wife Geri Horner

After watching reigning world champion Max Verstappen lead home Red Bull team-mate Sergio Perez in a dominant one-two on Saturday, Horner insisted the team was united.

“Yes absolutely. We are a very strong team,” he told Sky Sports F1. “We have got tremendous support, tremendous partners and great shareholders behind us as well.

“You don’t achieve this kind of result by not being united.”

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Max Verstappen continues where he left off from last season to pick up the first win of the 2024 season, followed by Sergio Perez in second and Carlos Sainz in third at the Bahrain Grand Prix

Horner, who watched the podium ceremony with his wife Geri Horner, and Red Bull GmbH majority stakeholder Chalerm Yoovidhya, was then asked if he expects to still be in charge in Jeddah.

He replied: “Yes, absolutely. I wouldn’t be here otherwise.”

Horner: Unwanted attention has not been pleasant

In a later media briefing with reporters at the Bahrain International Circuit, Horner said the past few days had “not been pleasant” and reaffirmed his intention to remain in his dual roles as team principal and chief executive until at least the end of the season.

“Obviously it’s not been pleasant, the unwanted attention,” Horner said. “But the focus is now very much on the cars. My focus has very much been on what’s going on on-track and the result today I think demonstrates where the whole team’s focus is and we move onwards.”

Horner maintained that he cannot comment on what he described as “anonymous speculative messages from an unknown source”, referring to the material leaked on Thursday.

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Christian Horner was missing from the pit wall during P3 as he went to speak with FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem at the Bahrain GP

Pressed on why he cannot comment, Horner replied: “They are from an unknown source which I’m not going to comment on. So, next question.”

The 50-year-old says that he “100 per cent” intends on remaining in his position and never doubted that he would do so.

Horner added: “There was a full lengthy internal process that was completed by an independent KC [King’s Counsel] and the grievance that was raised was dismissed. End of. Move on.

“I’ve always been entirely confident that I would be here. My focus is on the season ahead and the races we have ahead.”

Horner has been in charge of Red Bull Racing since it formed in 2005 and has led the squad to six constructors’ triumphs and seven drivers’ titles, the last three of which have come in successive seasons for Verstappen.

Speaking after taking pole position in Friday’s qualifying, Verstappen said that Horner was an “incredible boss” whose record couldn’t be questioned “from the performance side of things”.

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Max Verstappen says he is fully focused on the car and race performance when asked about Red Bull team principal Christian Horner after taking pole position at the Bahrain Grand Prix

After the leaking of the material purporting to be the alleged evidence in the Horner investigation, Formula 1 chief executive Stefano Domenicali and FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem met on Friday to discuss the situation.

Horner left the Red Bull pit wall during final practice ahead of qualifying on Friday to speak to Ben Sulayem, who on the same day told the Financial Times that the situation is “damaging the sport on a human level”. Domenicali has not commented on the matter.

Wolff’s Horner view not about ‘battle between F1 competitors’

Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff has insisted that his calls for Formula 1 bosses to seek more transparency from Red Bull GmbH around the Horner investigation are not based on team rivalry.

Following the announcement of the dismissal of the allegations against Horner on Wednesday, Wolff and McLaren chief executive Zak Brown had urged Formula and the FIA to seek further “transparency” from Red Bull GmbH.

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Toto Wolff and Zak Brown have called for more ‘transparency’ over the investigation into allegations against Horner.

Speaking after seeing Mercedes duo George Russell and Lewis Hamilton finish fifth and seventh respectively in Saturday’s race, Wolff said: “From where we sit, it’s really difficult to say any more. This is now a decision for Red Bull and the governing body (FIA).

“It’s not in the hands of competitors to have any action. If we go beyond what we’ve already said, it looks like a battle between competitors in Formula 1.

“I don’t want to diminish the whole situation by making it seem like the Mercedes or the McLaren guy talks about the Red Bull guys.

“I think let’s see where it goes in the next few days. I would very much hope that the governing body, the sanctioning body, the commercial right holder sets the compass right.”

Watch the second round of the new F1 season – the Saudi Arabian GP – live on Sky Sports F1 this coming week, with practice on Thursday, qualifying on Friday and the race at 5pm on Saturday.


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