Christian Horner is fighting for his job as Red Bull team principal after the Formula One team launched an investigation into allegations of ‘inappropriate behaviour’.
MailOnline understands the accusations surrounding the husband of Spice Girls singer Geri Halliwell relate to claims of wrongdoing made by a team employee.
Allegations of a sexual nature relating to Horner were flying around within the sport over the weekend, ahead of the new season starting next month. But they are flatly denied by the father-of-two and no evidence of that nature has been established.
A source within the Red Bull team added that the claims under scrutiny related to ‘incredibly controlling behaviour’. Horner, 50, said: ‘I completely deny these claims.’
A statement from Red Bull Austria, the team’s parent company, said: ‘After becoming aware of recent allegations, the company initiated an independent investigation.
‘This investigation, which is already underway, is being carried out by an external specialised lawyer. The company takes these matters extremely seriously and the investigation will be complete as soon as practicable. It would not be appropriate to make any further comments at this time.’
Red Bull boss Christian Horner and his wife Geri Halliwell at the Monaco Grand Prix last May
Halliwell and Horner at the Larkhill Royal Artillery Point to Point in Wiltshire on January 27
Horner with Red Bull’s Formula One champion Max Verstappen in Qatar on October 7 last year
Confirmation of the investigation follows 36 hours of denials from the factory in Milton Keynes of any alleged wrongdoing.
Indeed, Horner described the accusations as ‘nuts’ in a message protesting his innocence to MailOnline.
Legal action was taken against Dutch newspaper, De Telegraaf, who pulled their original story on lawyers’ advice until it broke on a German website, F1-Insider, at lunchtime today.
According to Horner loyalists, he is the victim of an internal fight within the broader Red Bull family.
Once protected by Red Bull founder Dietrich Mateschitz, the claim he is now exposed to forces out to do him down since Mateschitz died in October 2022, aged 79.
Horner’s defenders say the accusations are smears aimed at unseating him from power in an attempt to wrest control to Salzburg, the home of the fizzy drinks company that lends its name to the F1 team – the dominant force of the current era with Max Verstappen winning the last three world titles.
Horner has run the team since its entry into F1 in 2005 and won multiple championship with Sebastian Vettel and now Verstappen.
Halliwell and Horner attend a film screening at Lightroom in London on December 5 last year
Christian Horner with David Beckham on the grid at the Miami Grand Prix in May 2022
Christian Horner, pictured with Prince Harry before the Texas Grand Prix in October last year
Horner and Halliwell meet then-Prince Charles at a Prince’s Trust event in London in 2019
Horner and Halliwell married in 2015 and have had one child together, Montague, seven.
Halliwell had a daughter Bluebell, 16, with screenwriter Sacha Gervasi in 2005, while share Olivia, eight, with his ex-partner Beverley Allen.
Horner, who has led Red Bull since their arrival on the grid in 2005, has overseen a period of huge success for the team.
The outfit have won seven drivers’ championships and six constructors championships under Horner.
Last season, Red Bull won 21 of the 22 races on the calendar as Max Verstappen claimed the drivers’ title.
Horner celebrated his 50th birthday in December, with stars in attendance including Ronnie Wood and Sir Rod Stewart.
Take That singer Gary Barlow was also seen tapping away at the piano as the rest of the guests serenaded him with choruses of happy birthday, while R&B singer Jade Jones was seen posing for a picture with the Red Bull chief.
Horner was also presented with a three-tier birthday cake which read ‘World Champion’ – having won six Constructors’ Championships.
Horner and Halliwell in a holiday photograph taken on an unidentified beach over Christmas
Famous faces from the sporting world also went to the party, with Bernie Ecclestone seen enjoying the festivities alongside his wife Brazilian Fabiana Flosi.
Horner shared an appreciation post on his Instagram after the event, writing: ‘Last night my lovely wife Geri completely surprised me with a totally unexpected dinner with some lovely friends. Looks like we’re forming a band.’
Meanwhile, Halliwell took to Instagram to share a series of photos with the following caption: ‘A surprise belated birthday celebration for @christianhorner and the Supergroup! @officialgarybarlow, you’re amazing!’.
She also gushed: ‘You are my best friend. I love you more than words can say and I’m so grateful that you’re in my life. I think you’re an amazing person, you’re kind, you’re loving, you’re generous.
Geri Halliwell called her husband ‘an amazing man’ in a post to mark his 50th birthday
The Spice Girls star said she is ‘really grateful’ to have Christian Horner as her ‘best friend’
‘I’m just really really grateful and I just want to wish you the best, this new chapter in your life, just brilliance. You’re an amazing man and I just want to wish you happy, happy birthday. I love you.’
Last month MailOnline exclusively revealed that Horner and Halliwell had submitted plans to build a swimming pool at their Grade II-listed mansion.
Planning documents show the couple have applied to install the pool in their garden, alongside new decorative planting and a heat pump to keep the water warm.
In the documents, the couple say the works to the historic family home are being done in an effort to modernise the grounds – as they hope to ‘enhance’ its ‘unique character’.
Miss Halliwell threw her husband Horner a surprise 50th birthday party in December last year
Celebrities from the sporting world and music world collided for his 50th birthday party – with the likes of Rock n’ Roll legends Ronnie Wood and Sir Rod Stewart see in attendance
Horner was also presented with a three-tier birthday cake which read ‘World Champion’
Horner joked they should start a new band after Gary Barlow was seen singing on the night
The 40ft by 16ft pool complete with a fountain, topiary, sunbeds and a 6ft-deep end alongside their greenhouse and to the side of the main home, the plans show.
Many of the documents were submitted on January 2 – days after Horner was named in the New Year’s List for services to motorsport following another victorious season at Red Bull.
But its position in the existing 18th century vegetable garden has been criticised by heritage experts due to a ‘high chance of buried remains’ being found during the excavation.
While senior conservation officer Mandy Lumb said the proposal would not affect the listed building, she said: ‘Given the excavation will be in close proximity to the existing house and potentially over remains of the former house there is a high chance of buried remains; the advice of the Archaeological Advisor should be sought on this matter.’
Last month MailOnline exclusively revealed that Horner and Halliwell had submitted plans to build a swimming pool at their Grade II-listed mansion
The 40ft by 16ft pool complete with a fountain, topiary, sunbeds and a 6ft-deep end alongside their greenhouse and to the side of the main home
Plans of the existing gardens show topiary and vegetable patches where the pool would be put in
She added that the outbuilding, where the plant is set to be housed, should be repaired as part of the plans.
And she criticised the Horners for not applying for planning permission for a brick wall and a series of covered seating areas, which she deems ‘unauthorised’ unless the couple can get permission.
It comes just a year after the couple applied to expand their mansion with a whole new floor as the planning application stating they need more room for their ‘growing family.’