Bernie Ecclestone denies he told Red Bull’s Christian Horner to resign

The Red Bull chief is battling to save his career in the sport (Picture: Getty Images)

Former F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone has denied claims he privately encouraged Christian Horner to resign from his role at Red Bull amid an investigation into allegations of ‘controlling behaviour’.

The 50-year-old, who is the husband of former Spice Girl Geri Halliwell, is battling to save his career after a female Red Bull employee accused him of ‘inappropriate’ conduct.

Horner ‘completely denies’ the claims and presented his case to an independent lawyer during an eight-hour grilling at an undisclosed location on Friday.

Red Bull had initially hoped to have the matter resolved before their 2024 car launch this Thursday, but the investigation is now expected to drag on until the start of the new F1 season at the beginning of March.

On Tuesday, it was reported that former F1 chief Ecclestone had personally got involved, privately urging long-time friend Horner to step down.

Sources told F1 Insider that the 93-year-old warned of the dangers of a long and messy investigation, instead telling Horner that resigning would save him and his family from further damage caused by the fallout from the scandal.

But Ecclestone has now taken to social media to deny the claims, writing on Instagram: ‘To clarify, reports by newspapers that I had urged or suggested that Christian Horner should step down from his position in Red Bull is entirely UNTRUE.’

The post was also shared by Ecclestone’s wife Fabiana Flosi, who is the FIA Vice-President for Sport.

F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone and Geri Halliwell

Ecclestone is also friends with Horner’s wife Geri Halliwell (Picture: Getty)

Ecclestone is the former chief executive of Formula 1 group and was involved in the day-to-day running of the sport from the late 1970s until 2020, forming a close bond with Horner in the latter years of his reign.

Horner is still scheduled to appear at Red Bull’s 2024 car launch on Thursday, with the event also being billed as a celebration of the team’s 20-year anniversary in F1.

The Red Bull team principle has filmed promos for the event as recently as last week and attended the team’s ‘shakedown’ at their Milton Keynes HQ on Tuesday

After the allegations emerged last Monday, parent company Red Bull GmbH issued a statement which read: ‘After being made aware of ­certain recent allegations, the company launched an independent investigation.

‘This process, which is already under way, 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.’

Horner’s wife, Geri Halliwell, is said to have been in ‘floods of tears’ but will stand by and support her husband to the end.

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