Mercedes boss Toto Wolff calls Christian Horner investigation ‘an issue for all F1’

Christian Horner is in Bahrain for F1 pre-season testing (Photo: Getty)

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff has spoken out about the investigation into his Red Bull counterpart Christian Horner for the first time, calling it ‘an issue for all of F1’.

Horner has been under investigation after a female employee of hos own team made allegations of ‘inappropriate and controlling behaviour’ against him.

The 50-year-old, husband of former Spice Girl Geri Halliwell, ‘fully denies’ the claims and says ‘it’s business as usual’ for now with the new F1 season just over a week away.

All drivers and teams are currently in Bahrain for pre-season testing, with Max Verstappen and Red Bull setting the pace early on as expected.

Horner is at the Sakhir circuit as he said he would be, though so far he has kept a lower profile than usual, with the investigation likely to rumble on for several more weeks.

F1 personnel have been reluctant to comment on the matter, though Wolff has now broken his silence, reminding the paddock that they are ‘role models’ for millions of people around the world.

‘I think it’s clear Formula 1, and that the team’s too, we stand for inclusion, equality, fairness, diversity,’ he said.

F1 Grand Prix of Abu Dhabi

Toto Wolff has broken his silence on the Horner investigation (Photo: Getty)

‘And it’s not only about talking about it but living it day in and day out. I think this is the standard that we set ourselves. We are a global sport, one of the most important sports platforms in the world, and we are role models.’

Speaking about the Horner matter more specifically, the Austrian added: ‘Having said that, there is a lot of speculation that’s been happening over the last weeks. Speculation that we have all heard of and lots of things that are going on.

‘I think what’s important in that stage is to process with rigour. I think for Red Bull it started as an independent investigation, if this is done in the right way with transparency and with the rigour, I think that’s something that we need to look at whatever the outcomes are.

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 – Formula 1 pre-season testing

Friday 23 February – Sixth series of F1: Drive to Survive releases on Netflix – Horner likely to once again feature heavily in docuseries

Thursday 29 February to Saturday 2 March – Formula 1 season gets underway with the Bahrain Grand Prix

‘What it means for Formula 1 and how we can learn from that, because we want to talk about racing cars and we want to talk about this a lot, rather than these kinds of very, very critical topics that are more just the team’s issue.

‘So it’s a phenomenon, or it’s an issue, for all Formula 1 and in general, for every individual that works here.’

Christian Horner investigation – what we know

  • Hearing has been held into the matter but no decision on Horner’s future is expected for at least several weeks, and investigation may not be over before the start of the new F1 season.

Red Bull looked frighteningly fast in the morning session of the first testing day, but the same could not be said of Mercedes.

George Russell was behind the wheel but could only go sixth fastest, over 1.6 seconds slower than Verstappen, and he also managed the fewest amount of laps, 47 compared to Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso who did 77.

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