Christian Horner breaks silence after accuser is suspended by Red Bull

Christian Horner is in Saudi Arabia for the second round of the F1 championship (Photo: Getty)

Christian Horner has spoken out for the first time since the woman at the heart of the Red Bull scandal was suspended by the F1 team.

It emerged at the start of February that accusations of ‘inappropriate behaviour’ had been made against Horner by a female employee of Red Bull, but the 50-year-old was subsequently cleared of any wrongdoing via an independent investigation.

The scandal continues to dominate headlines however after texts and images related to the probe were leaked, and after Max Verstappen’s father Jos called for the team principal to be sacked.

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On Thursday, just ahead of practice for the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, it was reported that Horner’s accuser had been suspended on full pay by Red Bull.

The complainant had continued to work for the team throughout the scandal in a job that ‘involves continuing contact with Horner’.

Horner, husband of former Spice Girl Geri Halliwell, was, as expected, unwilling to comment on the details of the case however.

‘I can’t comment on anything that’s confidential between the employee and the company,’ the team principal said in a press conference in Jeddah.



Christian Horner investigation – what we know

‘This is confidential. I am not at liberty [to talk about it].

‘We are all bound by the same restrictions. Even if I’d like to talk about it, I can’t. This has been trying in many respects.’

He went onto say: ‘I’m not going to air all of the discussions that are private between the parties. Discussions have inevitably been had and the team are focused on the challenges ahead of us and the season ahead.

BAHRAIN, BAHRAIN - MARCH 02: Oracle Red Bull Racing Team Principal Christian Horner and Geri Horner walk in the Paddock holding hands prior to the F1 Grand Prix of Bahrain at Bahrain International Circuit on March 02, 2024 in Bahrain, Bahrain. (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)

Horner has not been joined by wife Geri in Saudi Arabia (Photo: Getty)

‘Obviously there has been a lot of coverage surrounding this, but one has to go back to the basis of a grievance was raised, it was fully investigated, and it was dismissed. 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 draw a line under it.

‘We are here to go racing, we are 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, where the spotlight should be during the course of a Grand Prix weekend.’



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, Jos, Max’s father, warns Red Bull ‘is in danger of being torn apart’ unless Horner leaves

Wednesday 6 March – Deadline for complainant to appeal outcome of investigation

Thursday 7 March to Saturday 9 March – Saudi Arabian Grand Prix – Max says in build-up that his father is ‘not a liar’

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

Plenty of the media attention has focused on Horner’s marriage to Halliwell, who is not Saudi Arabia this weekend, and the Red Bull boss reiterated how grateful he was for the support his family have given him.

‘The scrutiny on my marriage – I’ve got a beautiful family – it’s been very trying,’ he added.

‘When there [are] children involved, and family involved, it’s not pretty.

‘My wife has been phenomenally supportive. The intrusion on my family is enough,” he added. “It’s time to focus on why we are here.’

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