F1 hopes Horner investigation is completed at “the earliest opportunity”

Horner is the subject of a probe launched by Red Bull’s energy drinks parent company into unspecified allegations made against him by a female employee.

He has denied any wrongdoing and recently faced lengthy questioning by the independent barrister who has been appointed by Red Bull to look into the matter.

While Red Bull is going through the process of analysing the findings of the investigation to decide what, if any, action it wants to take, Horner has remained in his job.

He spoke at last week’s launch of the team’s F1 2024 car at its Milton Keynes factory, and is expected to attend this week’s pre-season test at Bahrain ahead of the F1 season opener on 2 March.

Interest surrounding the Horner affair, as well as the nature of the allegations, has been growing in recent days, and is likely to intensify as the F1 paddock gathers in Bahrain for the start of the 2024 campaign.

On Sunday, F1’s commercial rights holders issued a short statement declaring that it hoped the matter would be resolved as soon as possible — in what could be seen as a clear message to Red Bull to not allow things to drag on so they overshadow the start of the campaign.

“We have noted that Red Bull has instigated an independent investigation into internal allegations at Red Bull Racing,” said the statement from F1.

“We hope that the matter will be clarified at the earliest opportunity, after a fair and thorough process and we will not comment further at this time.”

While F1 hopes that the situation is resolved quickly, it has no formal authority to be able to force the matter nor get involved in any action on the team or Horner should it deemed necessary.

That falls under the remit of the FIA, which could choose to get involved if there is evidence of any wrongdoing that goes against standards that it upholds.

Christian Horner, Team Principal, Red Bull Racing, in the Team Principals Press Conference

Christian Horner, Team Principal, Red Bull Racing, in the Team Principals Press Conference

Photo by: Motorsport Images

Article 12.2.1f of the International Sporting Code states that a competitor will be deemed to have committed an offence for: “Any words, deeds or writings that have caused moral injury or loss to the FIA, its bodies, its members or its executive officers, and more generally on the interest of motorsport and on the values defended by the FIA.”

F1’s statement about the Horner situation comes a few days after Red Bull’s future engine partner Ford said it was keeping a close eye on the situation.

Speaking to the Associated Press, Mark Rushbrook, global head of Ford Performance Motorsport, said that the car giant expected certain standards to be upheld by Red Bull.

“As a family company, and a company that holds itself to very high standards of behaviour and integrity, we do expect the same from our partners,” Rushbrook said.

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“It appears to us, and what we’ve been told, was that Red Bull is taking the situation very seriously. And of course, they’re worried about their brand, as well.

“And that’s why they’ve got an independent investigation and until we see what truth comes out of that, it’s too early for us to comment on it all.”

Speaking at the car launch last week, Horner said the investigation into his behaviour had been a distraction for the team, but insisted that it would not impact its on-track focus.

Horner said: «Inevitably there has been a distraction, but the team are very together.

«Everybody’s focused on the season ahead. So it’s been very much business as normal. The support has been fantastic.»

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