Earlier this week, reigning Formula 1 Constructors’ World Champions Red Bull Racing announced that their team principal, Christian Horner, in under investigation for alleged “inappropriate behaviour.” While details about the exact nature of the complaint remain scarce, it has now been confirmed that a hearing will take place on Friday as the team attempts to get to the bottom of the issue.
The announcement about the allegations and the subsequent investigation first came out of the energy drink giant’s headquarters in Austria on Monday.
The team statement 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.”
A number of speculations about the allegations have been making the rounds on social media, including claims that Horner has created a toxic work environment. Others are claiming that he had sent “inappropriate” photos to a female Red Bull employee. None of these have been confirmed by the team nor other concerned parties.
As expected, fans of rival F1 teams such as Mercedes have been thinking of the nastiest possible scenarios. However, the team has refused to give any specific details about the complaint, except to say that they are taking the allegations seriously.
The internet has been flooded with memes of Mercedes Team Principal Toto Wolff, whom many think would be delighted to hear about Horner’s situation. However, Wolff himself has not spoken about the investigation and is personally busy dealing with the aftermath of Lewis Hamilton’s impending departure from the team.
Meanwhile, F1 fans are also pushing the possibility of seeing Guenther Steiner as Horner’s replacement should the latter be forced to leave his post as Red Bull’s team principal. Of course, this is all speculation for now, and it is unclear if Horner’s position is even in actual jeopardy.
One thing is for sure, the team wants the issue to be resolved as soon as possible, especially with the start of the 2024 season just a few weeks away. They will want to have sorted out their internal issues before they launch their title defence in Bahrain on March 2. Their driver Max Verstappen will also be defending his third consecutive Drivers’ World Championship title, in a bid to equal Sebastian Vettel’s record with the team. The Dutchman has also remained mum on the issue thus far.
Horner, 50, has been the Red Bull team principal since team entered the F1 grid back in 2005. He has since led them to a total of six Constructors’ Championship titles, and seven Drivers’ Championships. Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf, first broke the news about the case and quotedHorner as saying: “I completely deny these claims.”
Even though Red Bull’s Austria-based headquarters made the announcement about the allegations, the hearing on Friday is said to be taking place in the UK, probably in Milton Keynes where the racing team itself is based.