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Wednesday, April 17, 2024
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Red Bull, F1 Still Taking Heat Over Christian Horner Allegations

  • Tensions remain high at Red Bull despite the team dismissing claims against Christian Horner.
  • The father of Max Verstappen said the team could be ‘torn apart.’
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Reigning Formula One champion Red Bull began the 2024 season in typical dominant fashion on Saturday with a 1–2 finish at the Bahrain Grand Prix, but uncertainty is still clouding the team’s future in the wake of allegations surrounding principal Christian Horner.

“There is tension here while he remains in position,” star driver Max Verstappen’s father, Jos, told The Daily Mail. “The team is in danger of being torn apart. It can’t go on the way it is. It will explode. He is playing the victim, when he is the one causing the problems.” Jos Verstappen was seen arguing with Horner after Saturday’s race.

And his comments are just the latest strain on Red Bull in what has been a whirlwind of a month leading up to the start of the F1 schedule:

  • Feb. 5: Red Bull released the following statement: “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.” Reports would indicate that Horner was accused of inappropriate and controlling behavior by a female colleague.
  • Feb. 9: Horner was questioned as part of the investigation but maintained all of his duties with Red Bull. He would later appear at the team’s car launch event and then F1 preseason testing at Bahrain.
  • Feb. 18: F1 released its first comment on the allegations, saying, “We hope that the matter will be clarified at the earliest opportunity after a fair and thorough process. We have noted Red Bull has instigated an independent investigation into internal allegations at Red Bull Racing. We will not comment further at this time.”
  • Feb. 28: After speculation about Horner’s future with Red Bull, the company—three days before the Bahrain GP—announced the completion of the investigation and that “the grievance has been dismissed.”
  • Feb. 29: Team principals of Mercedes and McLaren called for more transparency from F1 leaders about Horner’s situation.
  • March 1: The day before the Bahrain GP, Horner met with the heads of F1 and the FIA after files reportedly linked to the allegations were emailed to team and F1 officials as well as media outlets. Horner said he wouldn’t comment on “anonymous speculation.” 
  • March 3: After the Bahrain GP, Mercedes’s Toto Wolff chimed in again, saying he hopes F1 leaders will “set the compass right.”

F1 will be back in action Saturday for the Saudi Arabian GP. Max Verstappen is the betting favorite to win, but his father will not attend the race, according to ESPN, after his comments about Horner.

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