Christian Horner cleared by Red Bull over ‘inappropriate behaviour’ allegations

Christian Horner will continue as Red Bull team principal and F1 CEO after he was cleared of allegations of inappropriate behaviour towards a female colleague.

The complaint, first publicised on February 5, alleged “inappropriate, controlling behaviour” against the Red Bull F1 boss. Horner strongly denied the allegations, both initially and in public at Red Bull’s 2024 F1 car launch in Milton Keynes as well as last week at pre-season testing.

But after an investigation was conducted and completed by an external lawyer, who interviewed Horner for nearly ten hours on February 9 in London, the world champions’ parent company Red Bull GmbH confirmed on Wednesday afternoon that the “grievance” against Horner has been dismissed. The female colleague does, however, have the right to an appeal.

A Red Bull GmbH spokesperson told The Independent: “The independent investigation into the allegations made against Mr Horner is complete, and Red Bull can confirm that the grievance has been dismissed.

“The complainant has a right of appeal. Red Bull is confident that the investigation has been fair, rigorous and impartial.

“The investigation report is confidential and contains the private information of the parties and third parties who assisted in the investigation, and therefore we will not be commenting further out of respect for all concerned.

“Red Bull will continue striving to meet the highest workplace standards.”

Horner has arrived in Bahrain on Wednesday night and will be in position for the first race of the 2024 F1 season this weekend. He is scheduled to speak to the press after the grand prix on Saturday.

The Red Bull F1 chief, 50, is married to Spice Girl member Geri Horner and is the longest-serving team principal on the F1 grid, having been at the helm since the team’s inception in 2005.

Christian Horner has been cleared of an allegation of ‘inappropriate behaviour’ by a female colleague (Getty Images)
Christian Horner has been cleared of an allegation of ‘inappropriate behaviour’ by a female colleague (Getty Images)

While unable to comment on the nature of the investigation throughout the last three weeks, Horner appeared composed and undeterred by the allegations and continually insisted it was “business as normal” at the world championship winning team.

“The support from within the business, partners within the industry, has been overwhelming,” Horner told the British press on 15 February.

“Obviously there’s a process that’s ongoing at the moment, some allegations have been made which I fully deny and I’m complying obviously with that process and will continue to do so until its conclusion.”

When asked by The Independent, Horner said he also had the support of drivers Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez.

Formula 1 called for a speedy resolution to the investigation, while Red Bull’s future engine partner Ford were over the weekend unimpressed by a “lack of transparency” throughout the process.

Sky F1 pundit Martin Brundle insisted the statement, from Red Bull HQ in Salzburg, “drew a firm line” under the matter.

The Red Bull team principal is married to Spice Girl member Geri Horner (Getty Images)
The Red Bull team principal is married to Spice Girl member Geri Horner (Getty Images)

Horner, who back in 2021 signed a contract extension at Red Bull until 2026, was made a CBE in the New Year’s Honours list for services to motorsport, having previously received an OBE in 2013.

He has been in charge of Red Bull for six constructors’ championship victories and seven drivers’ championship triumphs – three for Max Verstappen and four for Sebastian Vettel.

Red Bull won 21 out of 22 races in 2023 in their most successful year so far in Formula 1, with Verstappen storming to his third-straight championship.

Yet the investigation into Horner’s conduct has cast a dark cloud over the team’s preparations for the 2024 season, where they and Verstappen will be favourites for title glory once again.

The first race of the 2024 F1 season – featuring a record 24 races – is this Saturday, 2 March, in Bahrain.