Red Bull clears F1 principal Christian Horner of misconduct: How he Landed in hot water


Red Bull cleared its Formula One team principal Christian Horner of misconduct allegations Wednesday, bringing an end to a near month-long investigation that threatened to shake up the start of the team’s 2024 season.
Formula 1 Testing in Bahrain - Day 2

Christian Horner of Great Britain and Oracle Red Bull Racing during day two of F1 Testing at Bahrain International Circuit. (Photo by Qian Jun/MB Media/Getty Images)

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Key Takeaways
  • The earliest reports of Horner’s alleged misconduct cropped up near the start of February, with The Times reporting Horner was expected to face hours of questioning over allegations of inappropriate and controlling behaviour toward a female member of Red Bull’s team.
  • Red Bull GmbH said in a statement in response to the reports it had launched an independent investigation into Horner conducted by an external attorney, as Horner rejected the claims entirely, according to The Guardian.
  • The allegations reportedly concerned alleged controlling text messages and behavior toward the staff member, according to unnamed sources cited by ESPN, though such specifics weren’t confirmed by Red Bull.
  • Horner carried on with his duties in the meantime, telling reporters at the launch event for Red Bull’s new 2024 car that the allegations against him were a distraction for the team, adding he fully respected the investigative process.
  • Ford CEO Jim Farley, whose company recently announced an engine supplier partnership with the Red Bull F1 team, said in a letter obtained by the Associated Press that Ford was becoming increasingly frustrated by the lack of transparency and a “clear indication” from Red Bull about when the team expected a fair resolution of the allegations.
  • Team principals from rival teams including Mercedes and McLaren also called for transparency in the investigation, with Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff telling reporters the matter was an issue not just for Red Bull, but for “all of F1.”
  • Red Bull didn’t immediately respond to Forbes’ request for comment.
Crucial Quote

Red Bull told multiple outlets in a statement Horner was clear of misconduct, noting the investigation report is confidential and contains private information of the parties and third parties who assisted the investigation, which is why it “will not be commenting further out of respect for the concerned.”

What To Watch For

Red Bull said in its statement the complainant still has a right of appeal.

Key Background

Horner has been the Red Bull F1 team’s leader since it was created in 2005. In that time, the team principal has helped the team secure 13 championships. Mark Mateschitz, one of the world’s youngest billionaires and the son of the late Red Bull co-founder Dietrich Mateschitz, owns 49% of the company. The remaining 51% is owned by Thai businessman Chalerm Yoovidhya.

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