‘We take these matters extremely seriously’: Horner faces Red Bull investigation

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Red Bull has begun an independent investigation into allegations made against its team principal Christian Horner.

Horner is understood to have denied the claims made against him.

In a statement to RaceFans, a spokesperson for the Red Bull organisation confirmed that it had commenced an investigation.

“After being made aware of certain recent allegations, the company launched an independent investigation. This process, which is already underway, is being carried out by an external specialist barrister,” the statement said.

“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.”

The news comes a little over a week before the team is due to launch their new car for the 2024 season, the RB20, and less than a month before the opening round of the championship in Bahrain.

Horner has led the Red Bull team since it arrived in F1 19 years ago. In that time they have won seven drivers’ world championship, with Sebastian Vettel and Max Verstappen, as well as six constructors’ championship titles. The team have won 113 grands prix – the fifth most by any team in Formula 1 history – with 95 pole positions and 264 podium appearances.

Red Bull enjoyed the most dominant season in the history of the world championship in 2024, winning 21 of the 22 grands prix, including a record breaking win streak of 15 consecutive wins between the 2022 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix and the 2023 Italian Grand Prix. The team secured both championship titles for a second consecutive season, scoring an all-time record total of 860 points.

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Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...

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92 comments on “‘We take these matters extremely seriously’: Horner faces Red Bull investigation”

  1. What’s the nature of these allegations?

  2. Which allegations?

    1. Playing Spice Girls music over the garage PA system.

      Does it really matter (at this point)?

    2. Horner faces allegations of ‘incredibly controlling behaviour’ by female colleague

      1. Horner faces allegations of ‘incredibly controlling behaviour’ by female colleague

        This can just be him doing his job as manager, in a top sport setting where details have to be right.

        It’s totally unclear what the accuser considers to be ‘incredibly controlling.’ This can be anywhere from him deciding what she should eat to him not accepting that she spends half her worktime watching TikTok.

    3. A newspaper headline simply said he had been accused of being controlling. Too vague to really know what that means.

    4. According to “Bild”

      [Bild] “Internal investigations were launched against the Brit – because Horner allegedly sent photos to a female employee.”

      1. Breaking:
        Horner and female staffer summoned to the stewards this eve.

    5. Which allegations?

      ‘Certain’ allegations.

      You are not allowed to be certain. It’s a crime against humanity.

      Seriously though, being publicly accused with no evidence or even information of the specific accusation is akin to what the worst regimes do and used to do. There is a reason why the police typically try to keep things as quiet as possible while they investigate, which has a ton of advantages:
      – Safety for the accuser
      – The accused is not punished by the public before the accusation is verified to at least have some serious merit
      – It protects evidence

      1. it’s been said that there is evidence, so you just wait before assuming things.

      2. @Ludewig except he’s not being publicly accused. Red Bull are conducting their investigation internally and haven’t even clarified what the aviation is. They’re looking at evidence to see if there’s wrongdoing and, I’m guessing, if there is they will decide a punishment.

        Everything about that describes Western democracy. Not the moral panic you’re attempting to create.

        1. Accusation *

          (Edit button? Even just for a few minutes)

        2. except he’s not being publicly accused.

          The newsfeeds are full of accusations of improper conduct.

          Not the moral panic you’re attempting to create.

          OK. I guess that not telling lies is now a ‘moral panic.’ Doesn’t that say more about the reason why you are denying the truth?

  3. What allegations!?

  4. Yeah same. What allegations? I can understand Keith or Will not being able to elaborate. But I assume it’s okay for someone who knows more to comment here?

    1. Allegations of inappropriate conduct by a female employee.

      1. Thanks @sjaakfoo

      2. Thanks there @sjaakfoo. I get that giving a potentially BS story by a dodgy source attention would not be good, it’s somewhat annoying that the nature of the resources nor the source of it is even mentioned in the article.

        1. To be fair, the parties involved have declined to provide many details beyond confirming that an investigation is taking place. It is third party sources that are providing what few details we have (that this is due to a Red Bull employee raising a formal complaint of misconduct by Horner), so I can understand why they are a bit hesitant to say more until they have spoken to the parties involved.

          As to the original source, the claims appear to have started in De Telegraaf.

          1. For non-Dutch people, this paper is about as reliable as the sun or the daily mirror and I would even consider it unworthy to substitute that which was hoarded for no apparent reason at the beginning of the covid pandemic.

          2. For F1 News. Telegraaf is actually quite reliable.

          3. @bascb it seems that, whilst De Telegraaf is the one that was first referenced, there are other organisations that appear to have done their own separate investigation.

            In particular, it seems that some of the additional allegations that are being raised have apparently come from The Times in the UK, which seems to have carried out a separate investigation.

          4. Have to agree with @sjaakfoo, while I’m not a regular reader of the Telegraaf due to their way of, and lean in bringing news their sports coverage has been based on solid journalism and that goes for F1 too, so we should assume it is an allegation that has to be investigated thoroughly by Red Bull.

          5. @Bamboombots: factually incorrect.
            It is true that telegraaf has alot popular items (gossip and sports) but when it comes to News, Sport and Financial it is as reliable as every other Dutch newspaper. It cannot be considered a tabloid like the Sun or Bild.

      3. BBC states “controlling behaviour”.

      4. I won’t care about these until hard evidence is being provided (I mean, if it’s true, may he burn in Hell and jail). I know how easy it is to bring someone down like this, so before material evidence it won’t affect the way I see the man, as a public figure. I’m not sure the media and people’s social online accounts will care though. F1 doesn’t have to be Americanized this way too…

      5. Horner faces allegations of ‘incredibly controlling behaviour’ by female colleague

        Is not what you said :

        Allegations of inappropriate conduct by a female employee.

        You must carefull with these otherwise you get invested for Slander … At this moment we, Keith don’t know what is going on on a internal investigation which isn’t a lot to report. This is why Keith didn’t said about what kind of allegations.

    2. “incredibly controlling behavior” towards “a female colleague”, were the incredibly vague accusations mentioned in another article.

      This sounds very much like “perception vs reality”, and I hope there’s overwhelming evidence in favor of Christian Horner. He’s usually a master about how his team is perceived, so frankly, I’m automatically suspicious of the accusations, but I know nothing about anyone involved– that’s only my perception of Horner.

      1. “I hope there’s overwhelming evidence in favor of Christian Horner”

        I think what we should actually be hoping for a is a thorough and truthful investigation with all the actual facts being considered, even if that ends up proving that Horner has indeed done something unacceptable. If that turns out to be the case then he should face the consequences regardless of how is fans perceive him. Until an official announcement is made we (the public) know nothing, so it’s all just speculation.

        1. You misunderstand. I’m also hoping for a thorough investigation. But, assuming he’s innocent (I am skeptical of the claims so far rumored, as they seem either wildly out of character, or just suspicious), it will require overwhelming evidence to remove doubt, and keep this from being a permanent stain on his reputation.

          On the other hand, if it turns out he’s guilty, I won’t miss him. I respect what he’s accomplished at Red Bull, but I’ve never liked him.

  5. “The claims against Horner, a key figure in guiding Red Bull Racing to several Formula 1 victories, came to light during the prestigious Hahnenkamm ski event in Kitzbühel.”
    & elsewhere
    “De Telegraaf has stated that Horner has been accused of ‘inappropriate behaviour’ by a Red Bull employee.”
    So my money’s currently on had many too many and …

    1. The telegraaf isn’t a paper you can believe without any proof.. I think a bit like the Sun.

  6. World political tactics have entered the chat

  7. These days you don’t know if this means he molested someone, hit someone or simply once raised his voice. But generally publicly the throwing stones can now start on social media..

    1. Or if it’s a false accusation.

  8. …I wonder how long it will take for us to hear that Toto Wolf paid a spy to go work at Red Bull and seduce Horner by spiking his drink…. wait for it…..

    1. Replace Toto Wolf(sic) with Helmut Marko and you have an equally juicy story.

  9. I feel like this is an effort to troll the Wolfs and the FIA? Remember folks, no story is a story.

  10. I wonder when we will get Geri’s statement crying misogyny to get it all shut down…

    1. More like misandry. She’s not the target here.

  11. Time for some conspiracy theories.

    1. Yes! Hamilton’s replacement at Mercedes will be … drum roll … Max Verstappen.

      1. Allegations first published by a Dutch newspaper…

        1. Yes Telegraaf isn’t a paper which i would grade first class ….

          1. While the Telegraaf is not the best Dutch newspaper, their reporting on F1 has quite a high standard. I never catched Erik van Haren (their main F1 journalist) on wild speculations without him explicitly stating that. On the contrary: his information on Red Bull and Verstappen is usually quite on point.

  12. Hm, well, it does seem like RB HQ is taking this seriously. The way they go about the investigation and potential benching of Horner etc might also be influenced by the tug over power between Thai and Austrian ownership and between the Austrian Marko and RBR Horner wings over who decides what.

    Regardless it will surely be talked about in the paddock and teams will get their hopes up that it will somewhat throw a wrench into the well oiled machine that the RBR team usually is in F1.

    1. This is a standard PR response. Of course they don’t want to seem like they take any allegations lightly (in this wokism era especially). That doesn’t mean that anything will (or should) happen. They would issue such a statement in any case, taking this seriously or not.

      1. Since when is taking an allegation seriously being ‘woke’?

        Call me woke.

      2. This is the “best” practice PR response, i.e. as soon as anything is alleged, an independent professionial is asked to prepare a report.

        “Standard” practice is often to deny and delay for days (even weeks or years) until there’s a media frenzy, and then grudgingly agree to look into it.

        It says good things about Red Bull’s head office that the first rumours were on Saturday night, and the investigation was announced by Monday – before most outlets had even reported on it.

      3. (buy her a pony, all is forgiven)

  13. A story with basically no information involving one of the more controversial figures in F1, just days before testing begins. This is great…

    A lesson in restraint.

    1. Let’s be honest, that we don’t have any details in an investigation means that Red Bull are doing a professional job of investigating, well enough that the accuser hasn’t seen reason to leak details.

      1. Hopefully. It’s just not a great combination in the social media age.

  14. We know next to nothing so far but it smells of foul play by a rival team.

    1. How about the possibility that it could be a real complaint, and there really was some misconduct?

      Or the other theory that’s floating around that it’s part of the Marko power struggle?

      Or possibly it’s totally made up?

      “We know nothing…” and yet you suggest that it “smells of” (i.e. has the hallmarks of, most likely is, etc.) foul play by a rival team, with absolutely no evidence.

      1. 10$ says it’s Marko. That dude is capable of anything.

      2. RB have confirmed that the allegation – whatever it is – is real and an investigation is happening.

      3. Marko power struggle?! What’s that all about?

        1. Yellow Baron, it seems to have initially come from comments that Luciano Burti made to O Globo in Brazil back in October 2023, where Burti alleged that Horner wanted more power over the team and was potentially even looking at forcing Marko out.

          A short while after that, Marko then had an interview with the Austrian broadcaster OE24, where he dismissed the rumours that he might be removed from Red Bull and commented that “When and how I stop, when it is over, I decide, and not for example, Mr Horner.” and that “people are trying to redefine their powers” as Mintzlaff took over the running of Red Bull. There were also allegations that Max Verstappen was getting involved in those political fights, with Max said to have said that he’d rather see Horner fired from his role than see Marko leave Red Bull.

          It should be noted, however, that Horner did dismiss the claims as a massive exaggeration, whilst Max similarly dismissed it as nothing more than people trying to stir up trouble.

          1. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
            5th February 2024, 22:37

            Max said to have said that he’d rather see Horner fired from his role than see Marko leave Red Bull.

            Wow, that’s a huge statement if it was truly said.

          2. Oh wow. Ive seen some articles now, you’d think that’s what they would say to deflect it, interesting to see max potentially involved though and taking Helmut’s side so strongly.

    2. Bit of a stretch, since it appears to have originated internally. It’s possible Horner’s an ass. It’s possible he denied a promotion to someone who decided to get even.

      I find it interesting that the one brief, vague description of the allegations did not mention unwanted advances, actions, etc., but rather “incredibly controlling behaviour”.

      That’s odd.

    3. We know next to nothing so far but it smells of foul play by a rival team.

      Andretti playing dirty already? :)

    4. How does a rival team manage to lodge an internal complaint at Red Bull?

      There’s enough to speculate on without making up wild conspiracy theories.

  15. Breaking News: the investigation is inappropriate behaviour by the naming Torro Rosso after his wallet.

  16. Looking back, it might have been a wise decision for Horner to accept the Ferrari offer at the end of 2022.

  17. Hopefully for all concerned there will be a swift and conclusive investigation. If not, Red Bull should consider suspending Horner; it would not benefit anybody to have him attending races as normal with these allegations hanging over him.

    1. Maybe it’ll be super efficient like the FIA investigation into the Wolff’s?

      Yesterday it’s “there’s an investigation into some misconduct”, then tomorrow it’s “nothing to see here guys”.

    2. If not, Red Bull should consider suspending Horner; it would not benefit anybody to have him attending races as normal with these allegations hanging over him.

      Yes, the modern morals of guilty until proven innocent.

      Although they are very old morals to be honest, from less civilized times.

  18. It’s controlling and coercive behaviour towards a female employee.

  19. It’s good that Red Bull take the allegations seriously and have hired external expertise to investigate.

    It’s hoping for RB F1 that the allegations are not true and won’t have negative consequences on the running of the team.

  20. Andretti snub, Hamilton to Ferrari, Horner investigation… There’s no way the actual racing will be as spicy as this off-season!

    1. Hamilton to Ferrari, as newsworthy as it is, was only made public with that exact timing to distract from the Andretti debarkle/scandal. The 10 existing teams and FOM simply hoped, correctly, that Hamilton to Ferrari would cause the public with their lack of attention span to overlook their attrocious decision. The “ooooo, shiny” syndrome that so many suffer from.
      The Andretti news is still bigger, in my opinion.

      The Horner thing? Meh. I dislike the mans public persona intensely, and I wouldn’t trust him to bleed after cutting himself but “innocent until proven guilty”, and “the truth will out” are my two favourite sayings for this kind of thing. I’m happy not having an opinion until we know the facts.

  21. More importantly, on the subject of assult: Can I sue Stake F1 for damage to my retina?

  22. Andy (@andyfromsandy)
    5th February 2024, 19:43


    He started something but couldn’t finish.

    He shouldn’t have started something.

    He snubbed my advances.

    I snubbed his advances and I have been overlooked so I am telling on you.

  23. Oh no! Not an investigation? How could they announce an investigation will take place to find out if something has really happened or not. This is so disrespectful to Horner. :D

  24. I highly doubt anything will happen in the end, especially sacking.

  25. Andy (@andyfromsandy)
    5th February 2024, 21:51

    Okay I initially only saw inappropriate behaviour and now I have seen inappropriate behaviour of a controlling nature.

    No idea what that is supposed to mean but is it new world woke where you aren’t going to be told what to do in the workplace by your boss?

    Like if you don’t ask me nicely I am going to throw a paddy and stamp my feet?

  26. A job is a job, work should be meaningful and fulfilling, not a vessel for manipulation or worse, abuse.

    I’m really saddened by this news. If one person is having the courage to expose their experience, who knows what is being held over the rest of the paddock driving the insanely competitive performance.

    Anyone seen the movie Whiplash? It kind of proposes a pressure cooker environment is actually required to bring the best out of people.

    I hope it’s not true and I wish we could all speak more candidly about these kinds of ideas.

    1. Without fear for our livelihoods, on either side of the coin, I might ad.

    2. @Tristan

      So many assumptions in your post, with zero facts to back them up.

      Ironically, I consider people like you to be very unsafe to be around as you clearly are all too eager to throw someone under a bus just for the whiff of a rumor.

      1. Agreed, especially this part..

        If one person is having the courage to expose their experience, who knows what ….

        Who needs facts when fantasy is way better..

    3. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
      6th February 2024, 13:36

      Whiplash is an amazing movie. Anyone reading this, just watch it. You owe it to yourselves.

      There’s no doubt that F1 is one of the highest pressure environments where you have to deliver even off-season.

      I dislike Horner but he deserves an unbiased investigation not just as an any person does but also with what he has done at Red Bull.

  27. There’s been a few stories doing the rounds around a power struggle at RedBull and coupled with the Hamilton to Ferrari news I’m wondering if there isn’t some truth to them.

    Newey to Ferrari seems to be one which won’t disappear. Did Hamilton know this was coming and that Newey would jump ship too if Horner was dropped? A Ferrari is a childhood dream, a Newey Ferrari would be irresistible! All speculation, but something tells me there’s more to play out in all this.

    1. Juicy theory.

  28. What in earth is Horner being accused of?

    Oh I see: “Incredibly controlling behaviour!”

    This is just in, breaking news everyone! Read below!

    The kind of person who rises to the top of his career like Enterprise entering Warp Speed, manages to become the youngest F1 team boss in history, and currently is one of the longest lasting team bosses on the grid: suffers from A-type personality and can possess what one might call “an abrasive personality”, and wants things done exactly his way.

  29. How’s this for a conspiracy theory: Liberty made a good show of AD2021, and now RB are so dominant they’re afraid it’ll get too boring. Shake up of the teams is necessary so they force Lewis to Ferrari and accuse Horner of misbehaving.

  30. It was only a matter of time before the wheels fell off the RB bandwagon but never imagined it would be like this, with RB being a global drinks brand if there is even the slightest whiff of something wrong then Horner is gone. Hearing is on Friday apparently so where have to wait till then.
    Big question is, will Newey follow Lewis to Ferrari?

    1. I think Newey will follow to Ferrari, yes. My gut feeling says that Hamilton knows this already.
      With both Horner and Newey gone from Red Bull, Max Verstappen then jumps ship to Mercedes. There is a seat available.

      Toto Wolff also indicated that Mercedes would take their time before signing a replacement for Hamilton. Mercedes might not mind having a proven star driver with three titles in their car – to match the three-pointed Mercedes star.

      Anyway, end result of all this:
      Red Bull will no longer be nearly as dominant, and the field should be more evened out. This should (in theory) lead to less predictable races, and maybe a couple of new GP winners. The general interest in F1 should then increase, which will add value to the show, and ultimately to the bottom line.

      Obviously I have absolutely no evidence for this.
      But since speculation is the order of the day, I can speculate too. :)

      1. Oh, I forgot this speculation:

        For the short term, Albon returns to Red Bull courtesy of the Thai (multi-billionaire) owner. Maybe soon, probably for 2025.
        For the slightly longer term, 2026 onwards, Red Bull will slowly phase out their F1 commitment.

        Look at the second team for an indication:
        It used to be Toro Rosso > Alpha Tauri > Cash App …
        “Toro Rosso” was still “Red Bull”.
        With every name change, the Red Bull name has become weaker.

        Red Bull is distancing itself from F1.

  31. Typo on the article
    “Red Bull enjoyed the most dominant season in the history of the world championship in 2024, winning 21 of the 22 grands prix…”

    The 2024 season haven’t start but racefans anticipated how many race wins for Red Bull

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