Helmut Marko, 2024

Red Bull must take time over Horner investigation to ensure fairness – Marko

Formula 1

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Red Bull’s handling of its investigation into allegations against team principal Christian Horner has been defended by its motorsport director Helmut Marko.

The Formula 1 team’s Austrian parent company confirmed two weeks ago it had begun an independent investigation in response to unspecified claims made regarding Horner. He attended an internal hearing on Friday 10th February then appeared at the launch of the team’s new F1 car last week.

Formula One Management said in a statement two days ago they “hope the matter will be clarified at the earliest opportunity, after a fair and thorough process.”

Speaking to the Red Bull-owned channel Servus TV yesterday, Marko said the process is taking time to complete because the company is determined to ensure it is fair.

“It’s an internal investigation,” he said. “The sooner a result the better because, of course, rumours and other stories sprout due to this long duration.

“I think Red Bull reacted very well in this matter. There is nothing we can do about the long duration of this investigation. They are trying to conduct a fair investigation and then react accordingly.”

Horner is expected to be at the Bahrain International Circuit this week for the three-day pre-season test which starts tomorrow. The first race of the new F1 season takes place a week on Saturday.

He insisted it was “business as usual” for the team at their launch last week despite the ongoing investigation.

“There is an investigation that I am obviously complying with and I am working with fully,” he said. “So that is very much going on in the background whilst preparing for the season ahead.

“Inevitably there has been a distraction. But the team are very together. Everybody’s focussed on the season ahead, so it’s been very much business as normal, and the support has been fantastic.”

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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...

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47 comments on “Red Bull must take time over Horner investigation to ensure fairness – Marko”

  1. You know it’s bad when Marko wont spill the beans.

    1. @ppzzus Mexican beans or South American beans? Oh, the same thing!

  2. That it’s expected to take a long time even by someone like Marko makes Horner’s comments about it being a “distraction” seem inappropriately dismissive.

    But! As always, there’s only speculation so… let’s wait and see.

    1. Horner’s comments about it being a “distraction” seem inappropriately dismissive.

      This is also why it’s better to just say no comment.

  3. Fairness to whom? That answer is clear if you think about it. This is why it’s better to just say no commsnt.

  4. what is the time being spent on, do you think? The barrister will be charging £5k a day or something, so they’ll be liking lots of days. Are they interviewing the whole F1 team? Negotiating with Christian or the woman? Waiting for Putin to be assassinated so as to have a distraction when they announce whatever?

    1. If Hollywood law shows have taught me anything, it’s don’t mess with a high-powered lawyer’s investigator… It’s fun to think about what lengths they could be going to though. Worth every penny I reckon.

      Don’t forget it was reported that Horner lawyered up too and we still have no idea how cooperative either party are being.

      1. lol, yes it can only be a Hollywood drama can’t it, coming to a streaming movie channel. And at stake, the drinks empire and its brand, whether it’s all super healthy young people doing thrilling sports… or secretly a hotbed of s xual depravity!! Courtroom drama, mountain castle drama, racetrack drama… the mind boggles

        so perhaps they’re working on the script?

        1. Might fill the Gunther-sized hole in next year’s Surviving Drivel.

        2. I hope someone is, there’s some great stories for sure to be had. More than the Hallmark “retired racer comes out of retirement to coach a rookie” or fifth Senna retelling anyway. Maybe one day we’ll get the dramatidation (not that its needed) of The Mechanic.

      2. If Hollywood law shows have taught me anything, it’s don’t mess with a high-powered lawyer’s investigator… It’s fun to think about what lengths they could be going to though. Worth every penny I reckon.

        I know one KC who would insist on some bottom fermented tonsil lubrication of the real sort.
        Day rates on the spendables drop a little with the right incentive.

        1. bottom fermented tonsil lubrication

          I’m not going to ask…

          1. It’s an elaborate way of saying that they liked alcohol…

  5. I guess the investigators aren’t there to satisfy those who know nothing about it but still have the torches and pitch forks out, then…

  6. It’s nothing to do with any of us.

    An allegation has been made. That allegation is denied.

    When a full and proper process has been concluded and an outcome decided, THEN it becomes public knowledge and we can comment on the facts, should they ever be released.

    1. this is it! For now all we should be doing is commenting on other people commenting, that’s only fair and righteous

    2. Well wouldnt that be boring, we’re only human after all. Why is not okay to comment on public statements made about the matter? As long as people aren’t breaking the law in doing so.

      1. This used to be a site for F1 Fanatics.
        Some fun and banter has always been part of the comment section.

        But now it is becoming more and more a Social Media circus based on tabloid-like stories/headlines.

        1. Coventry Climax
          20th February 2024, 15:51

          Fans now come in two groups; drama queens and race kings. The latter seems to be going extinct quite rapidly.

          1. In F1 yes

        2. Facts&Stats, not really – this site has been around long enough for us to see that people really didn’t behave any differently in the past. Just look at how many posters here used to comment about Bernie stirring the pot with lurid headlines in the off season, or speculated wildly during various scandals and the ups and downs in fortune that some figures had – and that’s before we look at how much of a ready market the print sector had for sleaze and gossip in that era too.

          Let’s be blunt – the press has known for centuries that people often will debase themselves far more readily than many will admit to, and that gossip, speculation and sleaze are things that have drawn people in. Bernie relied on it, figures like Jordan or Briatore would wield that influence, whilst others like Stoddart might pick times to weaponise it for their own ends – the past was nowhere near as idealised as some paint it as being, it’s just that most have forgotten what it used to be like back then.

          1. You’re so wrong there.
            Just look at the articles and comments posted 10 years ago.

            There was no need to publish an article after every minor (non-)event; most days just the round-up from proper (well identified) sources and a single other article/feature.

            e.g. take the interview with Villeneuve: that article is full of proper quotes form JV.
            Whereas, this article has just two empty quotes from Marko, and a lot of (sometimes suggestive) stuffing.

        3. There’s a list of articles on the front page, nobody is forcing anyone to engage with the topics they aren’t interested in.

          Everyone in this comment thread virtue-signalling about how we should just be waiting, not commenting, or even paying any attention to the story are still here, commenting, adding to the engagement, and prompting further promotion of the material.

          When you’re running any kind of story you’re going to look at the trends and what people are interested in, it’s as simple as that.

          Implying this site has somehow lost its journalistic integrity and becoming “tabloid-like” is laughable, these are official statements from people close to the issue, not some random comment from far removed personality.

      2. People can do whatever they want. But it’s nice to show some class, whatever that means these days. We could at least try.

    3. THEN it becomes public knowledge and we can comment on the facts

      @sonnycrockett even then it’s possible the details are sealed under a non-disclosure. So we may never truly know what happened.

    4. I doubt many people are particularly keen to know what happened that led to this investigation, or feel a need to comment on those details.

      But it’s not irrelevant. It’s very interesting in how it affects the F1 operations, as Horner has been the figurehead of Red Bull’s two teams since their inception 20 years ago. And the first Red Bull team has been the dominant force in this new regulatory period. And especially now that Mateschitz has died, a potential serious issue for Horner could leave F1’s pace-setting team in a uniquely leaderless situation. That’s very interesting to all F1 followers.

    5. Fair comment, but I think people are entitled to question how “full and proper” the process is when Horner has not been suspended, especially since (as now seems inevitable) the investigation is going to spill over into the new season. It would be better for all involved if Horner was relieved of his duties until the situation is resolved, one way or the other.

      1. Ah, so the instant response to any allegation, whether it’s true or not, should be to instantly remove the accused party from their job, and disrupt the team.

        And which F1 team are YOU working for?

        1. The longer Horner stays the worse Red Bulls image. If he moves aside, he can commit himself fully to the investigation and depending on its outcome be reinstated or sacked. Right now people will basically see a person (rightly or wrongly) accused of harassment on live TV and in the court of public opinion such people are guilty until proven innocent which also then snowballs to RB.

        2. Suspension while an allegation is investigated does not imply guilt; it is supposed to protect both the accused and the complainant until the formal process runs its course. When the accused is as high-profile and influential as Horner it feels like a dereliction of duty that he is still in post while the investigation is underway.

          1. @red-andy

            It is effectively guilty until proven innocent. No worse, a punishment applied first, which can never be undone.

            And no, it doesn’t necessarily protect the complainant, because the greater the damages, the greater the potential for a lawsuit demanding that the complainant pays the damages.

          2. I tend to agree, it’s not just to protect the accused, but even more so the others the accused holds power over.

            You can’t have someone that thinks it’s okay to be sexually harassing people as an “aggressive” management technique (wherever the AP got that tidbit from who knows) continuing to hold power over people, “business as usual” as he puts it, especially in this industry where people are there because they love it, will do anything to be there and stay there.

            All allegations should be treated seriously, and allowing an alleged perpetrator of harassment to continue their day-to-day holding power over hundreds of people isn’t really doing so.

            Sure it’s not really fair, and leaders of other less public businesses wouldn’t necessarily have to deal with this media-circus… But this is all part of F1.

            If there was no substance to the allegations, the investigation would have concluded by now.

      2. We are not entitled to anything. Except free speech (yes, 1st amendment flavor of it from my POV). They don’t have to say anything. We don’t have to shut up.

    6. You’re being entirely too reasonable. You have no place in modern F1 or the internet. :)

  7. It’s ironic how Red Bull themselves are finding it difficult to sack Christian Horner who has a contract with the team till 2026. He turned down a Ferrari offer in late 2022 to replace Binotto which suggest a very strong contractual position as he enjoys the support of the Thai shareholders who requested an independent barrister to carry out the investigation. The Austrian shareholders though, led by new RB CEO Oliver Mintzlaff, and Marko are in favor of his removal.

    It’s premature to judge at this point since the investigation details remain undisclosed. However, if this move is a deliberate attempt to pressure Horner into resigning, then RBR may have just initiated the downfall of their dream team.

    1. @tifoso1989 without knowing the full details of his contract I find it difficult to believe that Red Bull would be going through so much effort to try and sack Christian Horner when they could just pay him out or wait to replace him at the end of his term. There are many rumours swirling about as well, supposedly Horner and Adrian Newey have clauses in their contract whereas if one leaves the other may as well… Which regardless could happen even at the end of Newey’s contract. It just seems difficult to believe that a situation like this, where some top brass would be pushing him out, has arisen when there does not seem like they have a replacement they are trying to replace him with.

      1. It just seems difficult to believe that a situation like this, where some top brass would be pushing him out, has arisen when there does not seem like they have a replacement they are trying to replace him with.

        Unless said top brass fancies having a go themselves, as some have suggested.

        But it’s all just hearsay and rumours at this point, so it’s hard to say what’s really going on. And even if this is resolved with either Horner staying or Horner going, I doubt the exact series of events will ever be fully public. Which is fine, we don’t need to know, and what really matters is how it affects the F1 team.

        1. Lots of ad revenue” is what I think is going on.
          Nobody knows – except Red Bull top management and a few select more.

          But this has still been all over the media just about everywhere.
          The story obviously generates interest, comments and an enormous amount of clicks.
          It might generate a bunch of television subscribers too, for the new season (and even more ad revenue, yay for the bottom line).

          The old saying “all publicity is good publicity”.

  8. Christian like anybody else should be seen as innocent until proven guilty.

    If he is found to have done what he’s accused of then of course he should be released but until then the modern internet & media trend of piling on the pressure to try & get somebody pushed out of there job before all the evidence has been seen and investigated just doesn’t sit well with me. Especially given the cases of people been dragged through the mud only to be deemed as having done nothing wrong.

    1. Indeed. Doesn’t sit well with me either. Especially when the “news” is as controlled as it is these days and pushed by tabloids. It’s all hearsay at this point.

  9. Nothing needed to be said in the 1st place then. They brought this on themselves.
    We wouldn’t even be talking about it if they hadn’t virtue signaled this into the news of the day.

    1. Well, they certainly made it official news rather than rumour I hadn’t heard about until it was reported that Red Bull had announced their investigation. That in itself does nothing to quash the rumours that this is actually infighting for control, though it may be no such thing.

      1. They did so to effectively make the move first l, otherwise it would have been made public by a certain Dutch journalist.

  10. Time for Guenther Steiner… /S

    1. Time for Guenther Steiner

      Ah, does anyone else have the vision of Guenther requesting that Marko leave the garage as swiftly as possible? :)

  11. I may have joked before about Christian Horner but at least since 2017 I’ve ranked him as the best team boss and RB as the most complete and perfect team on the grid. Even if he does go full Gordon Ramsay once in a while I wouldn’t place myself above the team and go over his head telling stories. I hope there is a really good non-selfish reason for this disturbance.

    1. @pertwee Sorrywhat? If a boss is abusive, the boss put him/herself over the company/team, not the one who reported the abuse.

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