Every word Christian Horner said in fiery press conference

Sam Cooper
Christian Horner with a microphone.

Christian Horner spoke in front of the media on Thursday.

Christian Horner faced the media after more pressure was put on him following Jos Verstappen’s comments.

From the words of Verstappen Snr to the accuser being suspended by Red Bull Racing, here is everything the 50-year-old had to say.

Christian Horner speaks before Saudi Arabian Grand Prix

Q: The team has clearly done a fabulous job with the RB20, is there one aspect of the car’s performance that stands out?

CH: I don’t think there’s any single attribute that stands out. I think as you said it’s been an outstanding team performance by the technical team.

As you could see, it’s an aggressive evolution of RB19. We took a concept that was hugely successful in RB19 and the most successful car of all time, but I think that you can see that the whole design team and the production side of the business, supply chain, all aspects of the business have pushed the boundaries with this car.

To keep evolving it, to keep pushing it and I think there’s some great ingenuity on the car.

But it’s only a sample. One sample of 24 races at a specific track. All the tracks vary quite a lot that are on the tour and in the championship. So let’s see how the car performs at a
completely different venue at a street circuit like this.

Q: Checo [Sergio Perez] wasn’t as happy in the car last weekend as Max. Is he in a better place here?

CH: Well he’s always run very well at street circuits and he’s always revelled at this kind of circuits with barriers and concrete in close proximity.

He had his first ever pole position here. He won the race here last year. His confidence is high at this type of venue and as we all know, confidence is something crucial for drivers.

Q: You will have seen Jos Verstappen’s comments, where’s the end game here? He inferred that it’s either you have to go or he’ll pull Max out of the team.

CH: Well, look, I’m obviously aware of the comments that were made. There was a discussion subsequent to the race.

And I think everybody focuses very much on the future. The team’s focus is very much on defending both of these world titles that we’ve fought so hard to achieve, Max’s three successive world titles, to build on that. The 55 victories that he’s achieved. The 114 victories that as a team we’ve achieved and now sit right with Williams on the amount of grand prix victories.

So our focus is very much on the future. As I say, discussions took place following the race in Bahrain and we’re all looking forward.

Q: Has there been clear the air talks between you and Jos?

CH: I’m not going to air all the discussions. That’s private between the parties but discussions have inevitably been had and the team is focused on the challenges that are ahead of us and the team is very focused on the season ahead.

And whilst we’ve had a very dominant race in Bahrain, we don’t expect that to be the case in future races. So we’re acutely aware of our competitors and you don’t achieve the kind of results that we’ve had by not being a united team.

To win the race by the margin that we did, to achieve a one-two finish, the fastest lap, the pole position. You need to be working in total harmony, to achieve those kinds of races.

Q: Can you confirm Max will see out his Red Bull contract?

CH: I’m certain that he will. He’s got a great team around him. He’s got great faith in that team.

We’ve achieved an awful lot together. He’s committed to an agreement until 2028.

From a team side, from Max’s side, we’re determined to build on the success that we’ve achieved already.

Those 55 victories have all come in Red Bull cars, all of the podiums have come in Red Bull Racing cars and we’re determined to build on that and hopefully many more in the future.

Q: Lewis Hamilton spoke about Jos’ comments, do you think Jos is too involved in all of this?

CH: Well, look, obviously Max’s father has played a key role in his career and getting him to Formula 1.

But obviously Jos is his own man, Max is his own man as well and we’ve seen him go from being a teenager when he joined us to very much a young man that’s achieved what he has.

So it’s not for me to comment on relationships between fathers and drivers. They’re all unique between the different individuals.

Q: Do you have any regrets about the potential reputational damage that has emerged from this episode for the team, for yourself and sponsors?

CH: Obviously there’s been an awful lot of coverage surrounding this. But one has to go back to the basics of a grievance was raised. It was fully investigated and it was dismissed. And from there, we move onwards.

I think an awful lot has been made out of this. Obviously, it has been of great interest in different elements of the media for different reasons. I think the time now is to look forward and to draw a line under it. We’re here to go racing. We’re here as a Formula 1 team and the time now is to focus on what is going on on track and the performance of the cars and the drivers and where the spotlight should be during the course of a grand prix weekend.

Q: Reports say that the complainant has been suspended by Red Bull Racing. Are you able to explain the decision or comment any further on that matter?

CH: Look, I’m afraid that I can’t comment on anything that’s confidential between an employee and the company so I can’t offer you anything on that I’m afraid.

Q: Is there a plan to bring some transparency to this in the future?

CH: I think it’s a complicated issue, because each company and, these companies (pointed to fellow team principals) will be exactly the same as with any other major company, that there is a grievance process that takes place in any company. That process is confidential between the individuals and the company itself.

I’m not at liberty, unfortunately, due to those confidentiality [clauses] and out of respect to the company and of course, the other party, that we’re all bound by the same restrictions.

And so even if I would like to talk about it, I can’t because of those confidentiality restrictions.

There’s a reason for that. Now, the only reason that this has gained so much traction obviously, is because of the leakage and the tension that there’s been drawn in the media. Which has been very, very trying in many respects particularly for my family, because it’s all been focused very much in one direction.

What has happened then after that, others have looked to take advantage of it. Unfortunately Formula 1 is a competitive business and there’s been, obviously, elements of luck to benefit from it and that’s perhaps the not so pretty side of our industry.

So, of course, there are always lessons but there’s a process that is governed within the company. It’s not an FIA issue, it’s not a Formula 1 issue, it’s a company-employee issue, and that would be the same in any major organisation.

Q: What of the investigation into FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem?

CH: I think the one thing that I’ve seen and learned certainly from any investigation is that don’t preempt the facts. There needs to be an investigation.

I’m sure the relevant parties and again that process that they have within the statutes of the FIA will be followed. And all I would urge is don’t prejudge and wait for the facts. Wait to see what is the reality before coming to a judgement.

Q: Is there a campaign against you and if so who is behind it?

CH: Look, we’ve been tremendously successful. We’ve done a lot of winning and we’re very united as a team and that’s what we’re focused on for the future.

There’s been obviously an awful lot of coverage around this situation. But I think the time really is now to move on, to focus on what’s going on on the track. And we’ve got a busy and competitive season ahead of us, and that’s what we’re certainly focused on.

PlanetF1.com recommends

Christian Horner accuser suspended by Red Bull after investigation dismissed

Christian Horner responds to Jos Verstappen’s controversial Bahrain GP comments

Q: Have you spoken directly to Jos since he made those comments and do you think that relationship between the two of you can be repaired?

CH: I spoke to Jos following the Grand Prix and obviously congratulated [him] on his son’s performance and I think it’s in everybody’s interest collectively that we’ve agreed to move on, to focus on the future.

We both have a vested interest in his son to get the best and provide the best cars for him and to get the best out of him. He’s started the season in the best possible way. He’s an outstanding talent and hopefully we can continue to provide him a very competitive car.

Q: Are you concerned about the damage that might have been done to your reputation? Do you have any sympathy for the woman involved? And what this whole saga might have done to her reputation as well?

CH: Well, look, it’s obviously been a very trying period. I’m married and have three children and when that intrusion includes your children and the scrutiny that is placed on my marriage…

I’m very fortunate that I have a beautiful family and a very supportive wife. I’m the only one that has been named in this so of course, it’s, it’s very trying, it’s very challenging.

Because when there’s children involved, when there’s families, parents, etc, involved, it’s not pretty.

And the reality is there was a grievance that was raised. It was dealt with in the most professional manner by the group, not by Red Bull Racing, but by the owners of Red Bull Racing, Red Bull GmbH. They appointed an independent KC, that is one of the most reputable KCs in the land. He took time to investigate fully all of the facts. He interviewed all of the people involved together with others of interest. He looked at everything, he had all of the facts and he came to a conclusion where he dismissed the grievance.

As far as I’m concerned, as far as Red Bull is concerned, we move on and we look to the future.

And you know, my wife has been phenomenally supportive throughout this, as has my family, but the intrusion on my family is now enough.

And we need to move forward and to focus on what we’re here for. I’m sorry for these three gentlemen, they’re not here talking about their cars and drivers today. That is time now to focus on why we’re here, which is to go Formula 1 racing.

Q: Why do you think it has taken people so long to move on from this?

CH: There’s been a constant source of…

There’s been one thing after another and I think that as I say, there’s been an awful lot of leakage around this in what is a private and confidential matter between the employees and the company.

Unfortunately, through that leakage, it garnered an awful lot of coverage. As I say, it’s now time to focus on the track and what we’re here to do, which is to go racing. We’re a race team.

We’ve got some phenomenal partners that have been hugely supportive through this, the team, the company, the 1,600 people that work within the group.

I have to thank them as well for their support. It’s time to move on. We see today Formula 1 Academy coming alive with the support of the teams. We have three drivers, three cars across the Red Bull group in that. We’ve announced new partners that we welcome to the sport and I think that now is the point of focus that we’re here for a grand prix and we should be talking about the cars and the drivers.

Read next: Christian Horner fires back at opponents ‘taking advantage’ of investigation