Christian Horner, Singapore, 2023

Red Bull’s hearing on Horner allegations to take place on Friday

Formula 1

Posted on

| Written by

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner is expected to face a hearing into allegations over his conduct on Friday.

The allegations, which Horner denies, are understood to have been made by a female member of the team’s staff. Red Bull’s F1 team has not commented on them directly; a statement was issued yesterday through the Austrian arm of the energy drinks manufacturer.

The development casts doubt on Horner’s future in charge of the team which he has led since its F1 debut in 2005. He shaped it into a formidable force which dominated the world championship between 2010 and 2013, before Mercedes’ mastery of the V6 hybrid turbo engine formula led them to win eight consecutive constructors’ championship titles. Red Bull rebounded, however: Horner’s team took the title in the last two seasons and is favourite to do so again this year.

The team is due to hold a launch event ahead of the new season at their Milton Keynes base next week, six days after Friday’s hearing. It remains to be seen whether Horner will still be in charge by then.

Red Bull’s parent company said yesterday it takes the allegations “extremely seriously”. Williams team principal James Vowles said teams have to take action when faced with such cases.

“These allegations are allegations, I’m afraid I don’t have any understanding of what is behind them and the significance of what has happened,” he told Bloomberg. “All I can say is that should this ever happen in our regard we’ll be entirely supportive in terms of fixing it and making sure we have a culture that’s accepting of everyone.”

“It means we all have to look at each other in the mirror and make sure we are posing the right questions internally and acting in the way we can only be proud of, not today but in the next 10 years,” he added.

Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and go ad-free

Formula 1

Browse all Formula 1 articles

Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

Got a potential story, tip or enquiry? Find out more about RaceFans and contact us here.

72 comments on “Red Bull’s hearing on Horner allegations to take place on Friday”

  1. I’ve never really liked Horner, but Vowles has it right: “These allegations are allegations”

    There’s a hearing Friday. Hopefully everyone is satisfied with that.

    end of.

    1. End of? Uh what?

      The hearing is the start, not the end… How many criminals would love the hearing to be the end of a story?

      1. I don’t think it is right to use the term “criminals” here – unless a formal charge has been brought forward via the justice system.
        As far as I know, that is not the case.

        We don’t even know what the real issue is yet, so “innocent until proven otherwise” must prevail.

        1. I didn’t imply Horner was a criminal at all. That’s as ridiculous as suggesting this story has somehow ended.

          1. I know you didn’t. But you did use that particular word, in the context of this story, and I think it may have been a bit on the strong side.

            We will find out what it was about in due course I’m sure. ;-)

          2. I didn’t imply Horner was a criminal at all.

            It matters not whether you intended it, it happened.

            That’s as ridiculous as suggesting this story has somehow ended.

            For the F1 world, it ends when the outcome of the hearing is known.
            Like I said, I’ve never like Horner, but he deserves the same treatment as any other person.

    2. This is very different to the attitude many had towards the accusations the Wolffs faced. Many were calling for them both to immediately resign over the allegations, and continued to do so after the investigation had revealed no wrongdoing.

      I do completely agree, though, that we need to let the investigation play out.

      1. This is very different to the attitude many had towards the accusations the Wolffs faced.

        Probably because their personal relationship and respective positions do actually create a conflict of interest.

        In this case, however, it’s something that every human has in common regardless of their employment or relationships – anyone can make such claims against anyone else.

  2. Very difficult situation for everyone involved. It’s particularly problematic when it becomes he said she said, with no other evidence. At that point there’s no good solution.

    1. well we don’t know if there’s any evidence or not do we? The whole idea is so hard to imagine. He has incredible social skills, he’s super eligible, it’s just not likely he pressured a girl in an objectionable way. Of course he does have the smartest mouth in history, and he likes to win, so if someone challenged him, and she’s very clever perhaps, he came out with something? But who knows, it’s a puzzle anyway, for now. Perhaps she’s tall :)

      1. Unless you know him personally, it’s near impossible to judge someone based only the way they present to the media.

        1. you can’t know that can you :). And it’s not true anyway , we obviously do know he has great social skills and likes to win and has a smart mouth, is in shape, masses of status and generally wouldn’t need to do any harassing

          1. Sometimes, men with “masses of status” are used to getting what they want and aren’t used to hearing “no” for an answer.

            Take the case of R Kelly, for example, or Russell Brand

          2. yes fair enough @gardenfella72 it’s not impossible is it, some predators do it just because they’re predators. Just a surprise imo if that turns out to be what this behaviour was. If it actually was at all of course, as he’s denying it, or a snarky remark about her shape or who knows, but normally people are his specialist subject that’s how he’s been so successful

        2. meant Reply not Report btw 😚

          1. Strange that the highly skilled sleuths of our F1 press have not a scrap to say on this. Nothing whatsoever has emerged even though Horner’s meeting with the barrister has come and gone.
            Anyone who knows RB well can narrow down the suspects to a maximum 2 or 3 and with journo skills identify the lady in question, and likewise obtain some info, however incomplete. Saward, for instance, who prides himself on knowing everyone and everything under the sun, has nothing to say on the matter. Why so tight lipped.
            We are entitled to know what the allegations are. This is the top TP in the sport on the eve of a new season. It’s just not a private matter.

  3. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
    6th February 2024, 19:06

    I guess we’ll find out the outcome on Friday. If he’s ousted, I guess another F1 team is going to be fighting for championships soon.

    I can’t imagine Williams or McLaren passing up the opportunity to snatch him up. Although Stroll probably could offer him the most competitive package given the fact that he owns the company.

    1. I can’t imagine other teams will want him if he is proven guilty of sexual misconduct. It would be poor PR at the very least, and would be a really unpopular hiring among the workers. Things like this can end a career in a matter of minutes.

      1. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
        6th February 2024, 19:40

        @dot_com I guess it would depend on the severity of the transgression and whether there was proof, as opposed to hearsay.

        I’m not condoning inappropriate behavior but if they want to make omelettes, teams may be ok with breaking a few eggs… What’s the alternative? Sure, let’s go another 25 years without a championship and make it 50!!!

        1. F1 is a marketing business, where appearances are ultimately more important than performance and results.

          1. Sadly so

      2. I can’t imagine other teams will want him if he is proven guilty of sexual misconduct

        Why are you assuming that this is the accusation?

      3. Gene Haas is a convicted tax fraud and conspirator who spent a not insignificant amount of time in prison, and they love having him around the paddock. People are quick to ignore such things when money starts to play a role.

        And anyway, it’s way too early to talk about these sorts of issues. Nobody knows what happened. If there’s even an issue in the first place. And if it turns out there’s no need to ever tell the public, that’s fine too.

        1. Thing is, I’m sure many on the grid also commits tax fraud, just not found out yet.

    2. If he is out it makes you wonder about even this season. If the season starts with the pack fairly close to redbull it’s possible Horner’s departure could bring about a swing around the summer break.

    3. Not soon, either fired or forces to resign he would have at least a one year gardening leave. Likely longer.

  4. Makes sense to try and sort things out ASAP and before the season starts.

    1. But the ‘rushed’ nature of the hearing, smacks of that certain authority figures, have made their minds up. And Horner is already out.

      I’ll be surprised if he survives.

      I’ve never warmed to him, but dislike this kind of situation where just an allegation can tarnish a person for life even if there is little in it.

      Of course he could be 100% guilty – but in that case should be given more time to clear his name.

      1. There’s plenty speculation that it’s part of a power struggle. Which makes you wonder that if they brought this up to get him to leave then if the was no issue maybe it’d be left under the carpet.

        1. wouldnt be surprised if horner was actually thinking about backing perez 5050 this year.

          the big difference is DM isnt leading RB, so is Marko playing for keeps? if Horner goes, i hope that whole team emplodes and never wins again, the whole thing stinks of a dead weasel that almost got lucky.

        2. If this is all a power struggle, as I’ve seen some comments suggest, there is absolutely no reason for it to have played out publicly as it has.

          It just doesn’t make sense. If “powers” at Red Bull have enough dirt to get rid of Horner they would have done so behind closed doors.

          1. Actually it makes sense if it is a power struggle to make it open. Horner os tremendously popular for Red Bull fans. I am led to believe that this really is a power struggle as when the Austrian guy made overtly discriminatory comments against Perez last year, he was not given this public bashing by Red Bull. Infact, it was only Horner who made clear that such comments were unacceptable. I

          2. did you hear what the Verstappen clan was going on about Perez in the media last year, before Perez lost a lot of performance in the car, after his wins scared the crap out of Jos and co.

            I think the press is a tool personally. Also, having delt with incompetent cranks in my line of work, who run to HR and run lies in order to sabotage people, I wouldn’t be surprised if the only thing Horner is guiltly of is ‘threatening’ someone who sucks at their job and probably ‘gets around’ to get around. IE, you know what I mean. There are plenty of people who don’t deserve their job, and one probably thought they could advance their career security by finding the company of more ‘friendlier’ ears.

      2. Or maybe the facts of the matter are rather easy to prove either true or false. Or this is a first hearing and based on it they will conduct further investigation. All of those can be true but we won’t know until (if we ever get that) we get more information.

  5. Tough to believe that after so many years in charge, of so many people, there’s never been any problems, but now suddenly this story. Plus, Horner is one of the few F1 people you see at the track with his wife on a regular basis … not exactly something you’d be doing if there was any risk of skeletons coming out of closets.

    Unfortunately, humanity doesn’t have the best record on these issues … and women have been on the receiving end for way too long, so it’s understandable that this needs to be investigated properly … but this isn’t like when some people have the finger pointed at them and we all sit here saying ‘well that’s not a shock to anyone’.

    1. That’s because the allegations are allegedly supposed to be about him being too aggressive as a manager, and not about him being inappropriate with said female colleague.

      1. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
        6th February 2024, 19:43

        @sjaakfoo where did you hear that? If that’s the case, it sounds like DeNiro’s assistant that made $300,000 a year but was upset at the way he treated her. All these people are deeply flawed – they are all abusive to an extent.

        1. Pretty much all sources agree on this point now. Only Bild initially reported something about inappropriate pictures being send. But Bild was never a reliable source and everyone else is in agreement about the others.

          I disagree that this somehow means he wasn’t inappropriate or abusive in his treatments, we simply don’t know that. I merely responded to the implication in the OP that this is about infidelity.

    2. I’m seeing a power struggle in play here.
      He was “to aggressive” yeah, okay… I’m reading it as “you’re power play failed now you’re screwed”

    3. and women have been on the receiving end for way too long

      Indeed. Remember how women were forced to spill their blood during WW I and II.

      1. One of the most bizarre whataboutisms I’ve ever seen.

        1. Apart from being an horrendous assertion beyond mere words it also shows their lack of knowledge of the world wars.

        2. @BamBoomBots

          I am perfectly content with just making you upset, as it may at least to discomfort over your extremist black-white view, rather than just nodding along with hateful speech.

      2. “Remember how women were forced to spill their blood during WW I and II.”

        One of if not the most lethal resistance fighter in France during WW II was a woman – Simone Segouin. 15-20% of the resistance force was made up of women. A number of them were caught and executed, so yeah, they did spill their blood. Voluntarily.

        You can go sit down now.

        1. Thanks Fred for pouring a healthy dose of hard facts over that ignorant comment!

        2. Simone Segouin voluntarily chose to put her life on the line, a choice that was not given to many men. So your example is weak, especially since I never claimed that women didn’t suffer from those wars or otherwise. I just object to this absurd notion that only women have been ‘on the receiving end.’

          It is a very basic fact that the percentage of women that were forced to shed their blood in those wars is very, very, very low. Women were intentionally kept away from the front-line.

  6. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
    6th February 2024, 20:01

    I have 2 words – Chelsea, Tuchel.

    If you asked me last week if Lewis could win the WDC this season or the next with Ferrari, I would have been skeptical.

    But if Red Bull loses Horner, the odds of Lewis winning this year or next have suddenly skyrocketed compared to last week. Let’s go RB!

  7. Seems to be a lot of condemnation for an accusation of which we know little about.

    Everyone should be respected and unfortunately society is so fragile and not many can take the truth.

    What ever happened to the “Me too movement”. Let’s wait for the facts before we judge.

    1. +1 for this.

  8. I guess there’s nothing to do but just wait and see what details we get. Potentially huge ramifications on the sporting side.

    While we don’t have details obviously. It’s actually kind of surprising we haven’t seen more allegations within teams. I kind of can’t imagine there not being a dark side to F1 and a few horror stories.

    The historical lack of gender diversity certainly must lead to a certain culture being prevalent within the teams. One would think?

    If it’s related to “aggressive” management as some reports suggest, I wonder why it takes a woman to have the courage to bring that to light, and if that is a benefit (or detractor) of having a more diverse workplace, in a wider sense.

    1. Sigh, a really based comment Tristan. How can we rage about this then? Good points made, thanks.

  9. For Red Bull to treat the incident with this amount of gravity is pretty telling considering how they’ve reacted to previous questionable behavior within the racing team. If they go so far as to fire Horner I can’t imagine a more damning scarlet letter on his career.

    1. It really depends on details… I’m far from a fan of criticising “wokeness” but there has to be a point where it goes to far. To say that it’s impossible to go too far is to say that any performance management at all is unreasonable and everyone should be coddled in cotton wool throughout their entire life.

      I’m not saying any of this is the case, it just really depends on details. If Horner is defending whatever he’s done as a management technique, then it depends on details more than ever.

      considering how they’ve reacted to previous questionable behavior

      I hate to say it but there is a pretty significant factor that has changed at Red Bull as a whole, and these issues are in my eyes entirely generational.

      1. Of course there are times when some things go too far and yes it does depend on details in each case.

        Now, forgive me for being generational (I’m 64) and annoying (my wife of 40 years would definitely agree with such an opinion) … but I’m still not clear as to what exactly it is he’s supposedly done.

        What is it? Do you know what he’s done?

        1. Nope, don’t know like the rest of us. Some say pictures, some say “aggressive” management. Don’t know if we’ll ever know…

        2. José Lopes da Silva
          7th February 2024, 14:42

          Maybe he clubbed someone

  10. I don’t like the sensationalism around the “allegations”.
    Could be oh I don’t know, perhaps a strategist and Team Principal fell out, language, dismissive attitude etc. and one just said enough! no more!
    Hope it’s not that. I’d be disappointed in both and team. Still if no-one gives….

  11. The call to have him sacked wasn’t made when he was the Team Principal of Red Bull when they went over budget which subsequently cost them $millions and Wind tunnel time. It is interesting that people are now suggesting that Horner should lose his position without knowing the facts over a supposed inappropriate issue with one person. We have become so woke.

    1. Some were calling for Red Bull to be kicked out, or at least disqualified. That would have respectively encompassed, and likely resulted in, Christian Horner no longer being team boss of Red Bull.

      I would, however, prefer to see whether Christian officially has a case to answer regarding the current allegations before considering what consequence should result from it.

  12. Frixos Masouras
    7th February 2024, 9:16

    I, too, find it difficult to believe that Horner would make such a stupid mistake. However, we are all human and make mistakes so you have to factor that in (if it’s aggression and not sexual harassment).

    I won’t jump to any conclusions until Friday.

    However, I am allowed to speculate, and the possibility of a powerplay cannot be overlooked here, and that doesn’t mean that he isn’t guilty of the behaviour he is accused of per se. By that I mean it is very possible that he was coaxed into a scenario where he overstepped because he was “pushed” by a plant* to do so (think Zidane-Materazzi. The Frenchman was coaxed into reacting and he did.) He could have been roped into that reaction.

    But honestly, don’t overlook the significance of the timing of these allegations. Dietrich was the one who entrusted all of it to Horner and the new management want the position (the power to make the decisions, that is) for themselves.

    Or it could simply be that Horner was a complete ass over a message that could end up costing him dearly. I won’t judge whether the severity is enough for a price that high, that’s simply how things are nowadays (for the better, in a lot of cases if my opinion matters).

    If it’s a case of him being sexually inappropriate then zero tolerance. Doing that from a position of power is despicable.

    Just my 2 pence.

  13. Who has the stature to replace Christian Horner? Who is going to step in and be a credible boss to Adrian Newey, Max Verstappen, Gianpiero Lambiase, etc.? I don’t see anyone able to fill that role in a meaningful way.

    1. José Lopes da Silva
      7th February 2024, 14:41

      Jos Verstappen, of course.
      After all, all the way since 2016 it has been alleged that he is in control of the team.

  14. The most lethal accusation facing any male public figure today is ‘inappropriate behaviour’.
    A charge of murder can be defended in court if you hire a decent lawyer. There is at least a chance of acquittal. Same for fraud. But with ‘inappropriate behaviour’ the allegation is enough for the media to turn their guns on the alleged party. It can be something like sending comparatively slight: an MP lost his job because the allegation was that he told someone she was “looking good’, and his hand accidentally brushed her knee.
    Sending messages or even worse sending pictures: there is no way back.
    I fear for Horner.

    1. Weird comment, the sheer amount of assault or harassment that occurs and is not believed, or shrugged off if reported is absolutely staggering. Some figures show up to 90%+

      Women face roadblocks at every turn in such investigations. People are not held accountable for their actions anywhere near often enough and every trick in the book is played to generate procedural unfairness.

      I fear for and stand with every victim of assault and harassment.

      1. there are plenty of ‘victims’ who lie to sabotage other people. Plenty of fake rape ‘victims’. There are also plenty of people who take abuse, in order to keep their job security, because they know they are inside the system, and those who are above them feel comfortable enough to abuse them.

        Unless the plaintiff has evidence its completely unsubstantiated. Also, there are many HR peeps who don’t care about the truth and only care about protecting power or the image of the company they represent. Which I would say is THE problem here, and the POWER playing itself out right now, IE, hes being thrown under the bus to protect the #1 driver and the interests of the peeps in the Austrian camp. I would hazard to guess, nobody would know whats going on if Horner actually had any real moves to make. Which means Horner has no power, and he is most likely the victim. Otherwise Red Bull would not be stabbing him in the back publicly like this.

  15. Whether the allegations are true or not, it seems Horner inspires toxicity going off some of these comments.

    1. Really? This is so level headed. The speculation and crazy theories and toxic support and conclusive condemnation in other communities is wild.

      I’d actually love to know where you think is a less toxic place where this is being discussed.

      1. You’re right in this is more reasonable then some of the other website comment sections around, but that’s hardly an excuse for some of the things said here.

  16. Multiple sources have mentioned that Horner and Newey contracts that protect each other, if one or the other is gone, then they will be gone too. (If they choose to.)

    If Horner is gone, we will see what happens with Newey.

    Been wondering about Newey for some time.
    Does he want to retire at his age?
    Is he interested in going to another team?
    Or maybe stay with RB?

    1. a move to Ferrari would be a great way to finish out his career. Especially if his current team is robbing his mate.

Comments are closed.