Ferrari looking to poach key Red Bull engineers amid Christian Horner scandal

Christian Horner and Red Bull owe a lot of their success to the genius of Adrian Newey (Photo: Getty)

Ferrari are reportedly looking to capitalise on Red Bull’s turbulent situation by poaching several key engineers from Christian Horner’s Formula 1 team.

While Red Bull are once again unstoppable on the track, having recorded 1-2 finishes in the opening two races of 2024, off it has been a very different story.

The Horner scandal has overshadowed the start of the season, after the team principal was accused of ‘inappropriate behaviour’ by a female employee of Red Bull, with texts and images related to the investigation subsequently leaked.

Horner, husband of former Spice Girl Geri Halliwell, was cleared by Red Bull, though the accuser is set to appeal the decision, but remains under huge scrutiny after Max Verstappen’s father Jos called for the 50-year-old to be sacked.

There is now so much wild speculation about the futures of Horner and Verstappen at Red Bull, as well as team advisor Helmut Marko who could yet play a huge role in where this saga goes.

But the reigning F1 champions could be set to lose a whole host of key personnel, with Italian outlet Gazetta Dello Sport reporting that Ferrari are looking to take advantage of the situation.

It is said the Scuderia have ‘acted promptly to intensify contacts with various members of the team led by Horner’, specifically aerodynamic management staff Alessandro Germani and David Morgan and head of performance Ben Waterhouse.

F1 Grand Prix of Saudi Arabia

Ferrari are trying to build an incredible team, with Lewis Hamilton as their star driver (Photo: Getty)

Furthermore, Ferrari remain hopeful that they can lure Chief Technical Officer Adrian Newey – the man largely credited with designing Red Bull’s unbeatable machines – to Italy.

All this comes after the Prancing Horse made one of the biggest signings in F1 history by convincing Sir Lewis Hamilton to leave Mercedes for Ferrari in 2025.

Frederic Vasseur was hired in 2023 to end Ferrari’s long wait for a championship title, and these are big moves from the F1 giant as they look to reassert their superiority over the sport.

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

The last Ferrari driver to win the title was Kimi Raikkonen in 2007, while their last constructors’ title came the year after.

There is set to be a big shake-up of the regulations in 2026, and some believe that Hamilton could be trying to replicate his switch from McLaren to Mercedes in 2013 which raised eyebrows at the time but a year later – after regulation changes – he was crowned champion with a dominant car.

Sky Sports pundit Karun Chandhok thinks this is the case, writing on Twitter: ‘Wow – La Gazetta are reporting that a whole bunch of senior Red Bull people could be on their way to Maranello soon….

Christian Horner investigation – what we know

‘If it comes true, as was the case in 2013, Lewis could have once again pulled off a masterful team swap!’

Ahead of last weekend’s Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, Horner hit back amid questions on the scandal, and suggested that rival teams were trying to take advantage of his and Red Bull’s plight.

He said: ‘Unfortunately, Formula One is a competitive business, and there have been, obviously… elements have looked 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.’

The 2024 F1 season continues with the Australian Grand Prix on 24 March.

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