Christian Horner cleared of inappropriate behaviour

Red Bull team chief Christian Horner was cleared on Wednesday of wrongdoing following an investigation into complaints of inappropriate behaviour against him made by a female team member.

A statement from Austrian energy drinks brand Red Bull, the parent company of the world champion Formula One team, said the “grievance has been dismissed”.

Horner, who has been team principal since 2005, denied the allegations made against him and was subjected to a lengthy interview by an independent London lawyer acting as investigator, who submitted a report to Red Bull. The lawyer’s report was delivered on Tuesday and has been considered by Red Bull directors.

In a statement, Red Bull GmbH said: “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 flew to Bahrain from London on Wednesday, but was not present at the circuit for a media day ahead of the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix this weekend.

He is expected to be on the pit wall for the opening practice sessions on Thursday.

Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf reported the allegation of “inappropriate behaviour” by a female member of staff for the British-based team earlier this month.

Asked about the accusations, Horner, 50, told De Telegraaf: “I completely deny these claims. Formula One chiefs had said they wanted the issue resolved at the “earliest opportunity”.

Mercedes team chief Toto Wolff described the investigation as “an issue for all of Formula One” and called for transparency.

Under Horner’s guidance, Red Bull have become the dominant force in Formula One, with Max Verstappen winning the past three drivers’ titles.

Horner, who is married to former Spice Girl Geri Halliwell, has been in charge of the team since they entered Formula One 19 years ago. During that time he has overseen seven drivers’ world championships and six constructors’ titles.

Red Bull dominated the 2023 season, winning 21 of the 22 races as Verstappen defended his drivers’ crown. The Dutchman said earlier Wednesday that the Horner investigation “doesn’t affect me”.

“I’m very focused on the car and on myself.” Seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton had admitted the controversy had been “hanging over the sport”.

“I think we always have to do more to try and make the sport, and the environment that people work in, feel safe and inclusive,” he said.

Former F1 ringmaster Bernie Ecclestone told AFP “it’s great the process was carried out in the right way and was not decided on the basis of one person’s statement”.

“He was always very clear with me there was nothing to be concerned about. It’s been tough as it has been hanging over him.

Source: eNCA

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