Following the bombshell earlier this week Christian Horner is being investigated by Red Bull, a crunch hearing that was scheduled for Milton Keynes but has reportedly been moved due to the intense media interest.
Earlier this week, Red Bull Racing’s parent company Red Bull GmbH confirmed the team boss is being investigated internally – the exact nature of his alleged behaviour has not been confirmed.
“After being made aware of certain recent allegations, the company launched an independent investigation,” Red Bull GmbH confirmed to PlanetF1.com. “This process, which is already underway, is being carried out by an external specialist barrister. The company takes these matters extremely seriously and the investigation will be completed as soon as practically possible. It would not be appropriate to comment further at this time.”
Christian Horner set for meeting at Red Bull
While hard facts regarding the process Red Bull has put in place about Horner and his leadership of the racing team remain unconfirmed by the racing team, Horner is due to meet the external specialist barrister for a meeting that was initially scheduled to take place at Milton Keynes headquarters of the Red Bull Racing team on Friday.
According to The Times, it has been moved to an undisclosed location due to the intense media interest.
The investigation is believed to be focusing on Horner’s managerial style, following a complaint lodged by an employee with Red Bull GmbH.
A decision on his future could be made in the coming days, ahead of Red Bull’s F1 2024 car launch to kick-start the season – the event is taking place in Milton Keynes on February 15th.
Should Red Bull opt to cut ties with Horner, it would bring to an end a remarkable partnership – Horner having taken control of the Red Bull F1 team in his early 30s as Dietrich Mateschitz bought out the former Jaguar team and placing his faith in an unproven Horner.
Horner, now 50, has proven pivotal in building Red Bull into a behemoth F1 team and brand – having secured the services of former McLaren and Williams technical director Adrian Newey, Red Bull and Sebastian Vettel were title contenders by 2009 and, in 2010, landed their first titles.
In total, since entering the sport in 2005, Red Bull has won seven Drivers’ Championships and six Constructors’ Championships – their 2023 season was the most dominant performance by an F1 team in the history of the sport as they won 21 of 22 races.
What has the reaction from the F1 paddock been?
With the details of the Horner allegations not made public, few voices of support or condemnation have come forward.
Speaking at the launch of the Williams FW46 on Wednesday, team boss James Vowles was asked about the situation by Bloomberg.
“The sport itself, wind back 20 years ago, male-dominated without question. If you had to ask me what makes up a team, it would be white, more than likely male, more likely 40 years old, something in that ballpark,” he said.
“That’s changing and it’s only a positive that’s changing that result.
“I can only control what happens within Williams.
“And what I can do within the environment is open everyone’s eyes to this is how we have to be, because the best ideas don’t come from being a closed group of individuals, it come from diversity.
“These allegations are allegations, I’m afraid I don’t have any understanding of what is behind them and the significance of what has happened.
“All I can say is that should this ever happen in our guard we’ll be entirely supportive in terms of fixing it and making sure we have a culture that is accepting of everyone.”
Former F1 driver Giedo van der Garde believes that, when Red Bull reveals their RB20 at a celebratory launch event at the Milton Keynes factory on February 15th, Horner will no longer be in charge.
“Horner is, of course, controlled internally by Red Bull,” he told the DRS: De Race Show podcast.
“Believe me, when that presentation comes next week, there is no way Horner will be there presenting.
“For Red Bull, this is obviously dramatic and then they also have those presentations next week. Red Bull will come again with a mega-good car, so in that respect, they will have a very nice season, but this is a bit of a blemish on the name, but also the team.”