Christian Horner accuser ‘very angry and lonely’ amid Red Bull appeal

Christian Horner was cleared of any wrongdoing by Red Bull (Photo: Getty)

The woman who accused Red Bull boss Christian Horner of inappropriate behaviour is ‘very upset, angry, scared, intimidated and lonely’ according to a family friend.

A female employee of the Red Bull Formula 1 team made the allegations against team principal Horner back in December and they were first revealed to the public in February.

Horner, husband of former Spice Girl Geri Halliwell, has always denied the claims and was cleared of any wrongdoing after an investigation, though the accuser is now appealing the case.

The complainant has also been suspended on full pay by Red Bull, as the scandal continues to overshadow the 2024 F1 season which continues this weekend with the Japanese Grand Prix.

Red Bull have been desperate to keep details of the matter under wraps and it has now been revealed that the complainant is unable to talk about it having signed a legal undertaking not to discuss the matter with anyone other than her father and brother.

That is according to her friend who also told BBC Sport: ‘It’s impossible for people to understand what it’s like for her. She can’t talk and she won’t talk.

‘But I can tell you what it is doing to her. Every time I have asked her something, she breaks down in tears and says she’s got no-one to talk to because she’s not allowed to talk.

Former Spice Girl Geri Halliwell and her husband, Red Bull Racing team principal Christian Horner

Horner married Geri Halliwell in 2015 (Photo: Getty)

‘She is very upset, very angry, very scared, very intimidated, very lonely. And I think it’s impossible for people to understand without being in her shoes what it’s like for her.’

The interest in the scandal was greatly heightened after WhatsApp messages and pictures supposedly related to the investigation were leaked to the media and F1 personnel on the eve of the season opening race and just 24 hours after Horner was cleared by Red Bull.

Metro have seen the texts and images but cannot comment on their content nor verify their validity, but the friend insists they are genuine.



Christian Horner investigation timeline

How the scandal has unfolded…

Monday 5 February – Red Bull confirm investigation into Horner over ‘controlling behaviour’ allegations

Friday 9 February – Horner grilled by independent lawyer during eight-hour hearing

Thursday 15 February – Horner attends Red Bull’s 2024 car launch and publicly addresses allegations for first time – says he ‘fully denies’ any wrongdoing

Friday 16 February – Fresh allegations emerge in Dutch Newspaper De Telegraaf suggesting Horner sent messages of a ‘suggestive nature’ to a female employee

Wednesday 21 February to Friday 23 February – Horner attends Formula 1 pre-season testing in Bahrain – says: ‘We hope there is a resolution as soon as possible’

Friday 23 February – Sixth series of F1: Drive to Survive releases on Netflix – Horner and wife Geri Halliwell feature in docuseries

Wednesday 28 February – Horner cleared of allegations – Red Bull say: ‘The investigation is complete and the grievance has been dismissed. The complainant has a right of appeal’

Thursday 29 February – WhatsApp messages and images supposedly between Horner and the complainant were leaked to the media and F1 personnel

Friday 1 March – Horner summoned for showdown talks with F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali and FIA President Mohammed Ben Sulayem – later, Horner has a ‘blazing row’ with Jos Verstappen

Saturday 2 March – Red Bull’s Max Verstappen wins season opening Bahrain Grand Prix – hours later, his father Jos warns Red Bull ‘is in danger of being torn apart’ unless Horner leaves

Thursday 7 March – Horner’s accuser is suspended on full pay by Red Bull

Sunday 10 March – Following Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, Red Bull’s owners hold crisis talks amid reports Horner will be sacked and Verstappen could leave for Mercedes

‘We can all read the WhatsApps and anybody can come to their own conclusion whether that was an appropriate relationship between a CEO and a PA,’ she added.

‘As Christian has said, he wants to draw a line under this. Well, if this has been a fair and independent process and there has been no wrongdoing found, then why isn’t that being brought forward in a transparent way and why isn’t Christian denying that those WhatsApps are real?

‘I do feel like you had some people who feel it takes two to tango, but that’s unfair. That is trying to divert. The issue here is, should Christian have done what he did as a CEO?’



Christian Horner investigation – what we know

It is not known how long the appeal process will take, but even if it fails, it is said that the complainant will take her case to an employment tribunal, which will lift the confidentiality barrier.

‘She struggles to understand how, given the information, an independent process can have come to the conclusions it has, and the actions that have followed.

‘It’s shocking but not surprising how upset she is. There have been multiple financial offers [to sell her story], none of which she has had any interest in even engaging on.

Horner will be hoping to get Red Bull back to winning ways in Japan (Photo: Getty)

‘It takes a pretty brave woman to do what she has done. And unfortunately it is a very poor state of affairs.

‘It is registered to go to an employment tribunal, which is public. As a friend, I can tell you I would assume that Horner, like he has done every step of the way, will do everything he can to make sure that the employee tribunal is not public.

‘Unfortunately, the date is a long time away. She has been threatened with legalese every step of the way, as has the media. She has now been suspended and it’s clear that’s Red Bull following a process to eventually fire her.

‘It’s pretty clear she has not been able to say a word or even identify herself and yet Christian is able to give enough commentary because he has got a position of power and influence to effectively give his side of the story and she has been completely muted.’

In response to these comments, a Red Bull spokesperson said: ‘Both [parties] signed a confidentiality agreement on it so they both can’t discuss it.

‘Christian has not made attempts to [make sure the employment tribunal is private]. And she has not been suspended with the intent of firing her.’

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