Christian Horner, Red Bull, Bahrain International Circuit, 2024 pre-season test

Horner investigation is “an issue for all of F1” – Wolff

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Red Bull’s ongoing investigation into allegations regarding team principal Christian Horner is “an issue” for all in Formula 1, says his Mercedes rival Toto Wolff.

The Austrian owners of the Red Bull F1 team confirmed two weeks ago they were looking into allegations made against Horner. In the meantime he is continuing in his role as before and was present at today’s pre-season test at Bahrain International Circuit.

Last week Formula One Management urged Red Bull to clarify the situation regarding Horner at the earliest opportunity. Red Bull’s motorsport consultant subsequently defended the company’s handling of the investigation, saying it had to ensure a fair outcome was reached.

Asked about the investigation in today’s FIA press conference, Wolff said the investigation needs to be handled the correct way and its outcome has implications beyond Red Bull because of how it reflects on the sport.

“Formula 1 and what the teams do, we stand for inclusion, equality, fairness, diversity,” he said. “And that is not only talking about it but living it day-in and day-out. These are the standards we are setting ourselves. We are a global sport, one of the most important sports platforms in the world, and we are role models.

“But having said that, there is a lot of speculation happening over the last weeks, speculation that we have heard of, and lots of things that are going on. What’s important at that stage is for a process with rigour.

Toto Wolff, Mercedes, Bahrain International Circuit, 2024 pre-season test
Discussion around “critical topics” isn’t good for F1, says Wolff
“I think what Red Bull has started, an independent investigation that is done in the right way with transparency and rigour, I think that’s something we need to look at – what the outcomes are and what it means for Formula 1 and how we can learn from that.

“We want to talk about racing cars and we want to talk about the sport rather than these kind of very critical topics that are more just a team’s issue. It’s a phenomenon, it’s an issue for all of Formula 1 and in general for every individual that works out there.”

Red Bull has not given any details of the allegations against Horner and has said it will not comment until its investigation is concluded.

This week the FIA also said it will not comment until Red Bull’s investigation has concluded.

“In relation to the independent investigation currently being undertaken by Red Bull GMbH, the FIA reiterates that until such time as the investigation has concluded and the outcome is known, we will not be commenting further,” it said in a statement. “The FIA remains committed to upholding the highest standards of integrity, fairness and inclusivity within the sport.”

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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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37 comments on “Horner investigation is “an issue for all of F1” – Wolff”

  1. Strange that he wasn’t so pro the FIA investigation on him and his wife…

    1. Is that the one there was absolutely no evidence for?

      1. That’s fine. But as far as we know so far, there isn’t any concrete evidence that Horner engaged in wrongdoing other than an accusation. The rest has been kept private. Just like in the case of Wolff.

        The difference I see, is that (1) Red Bull’s is a private matter and being handled internally and (2) Horner didn’t freak out and told all of the media that there was a conspiracy against him, and also didn’t accuse anyone of sexism, without evidence.

        1. But as far as we know so far, there isn’t any concrete evidence that Horner engaged in wrongdoing other than an accusation.

          This is not actually true. The Telegraaf did put out some details that were rather more than “an accusation” in their articles.

          But yes, it IS a good thing that Red Bull is handling this internally and confidentially to get behind what really happened and decide how to deal with this matter in a satisfactory way instead of going public about it on the basis of a BS article by a medium known for pushing an agenda with false stories in the past like the FIA did.

          1. But what De Telegraaf shared is not evidence, they are just more rumours.

            The guy claimed to have seen the messages, and claimed that they were over a significant period of time. What he didn’t do was state how the other person replied to them. So the messages may exist, but are they messages sent that were unwanted? Or were they messages that were responded to in kind? Context is key.

            You also have to question the motivations of De Telegraaf, considering they are seemingly the only people have have been given access to the messages. It is not beyond the realm of possibility that they are misrepresenting the messages to suit a narrative.

            The actions taken by Red Bull HQ and the outside legal assistance it brought in, do not support any serious misconduct, otherwise he would have been quickly suspended and shown the door, rather than remaining in post, attending launch events and going to testing in his role as Team Principal. They would act to protect themselves first.

            I’m expecting a far less sensational story of an affair between two people, resulting in contractual breaches as a result.

      2. You do realise that the purpose of the FIA investigation was to check whether there was a matter they had to deal with, because Toto Wolff put his foot in his mouth and incriminated himself? It is after all well within the rights of the FIA to investigate potential wrongdoing. Innocent people don’t need to hide behind their wives and employ expensive lawyers to make investigations disappear.

  2. Not very classy of Wolff to make statements when no one has any details of the matter. He just couldn’t resist taking a shot at Horner.

    1. He was asked about the investigation in a press conference. Kind of hard for him not to comment on it in those circumstances.

      1. And yet, the other 4 team bosses in the press conference did just that….

      2. It was a backhanded thing to say. Suggesting that an investigation that may or may not be a big deal, is an issue for all of F1 presupposes wrongdoing.

        I think most people see what Toto is doing. It’s a very subtle smear on Horner. He never misses an opportunity to put Horner down if he can. There is real contempt there.

      3. “I would not like to comment on that”

        Very simple.

      4. “sorry, no coments”

        See? That was easy.

    2. Where does he take a shot? He makes no accusation, no speculation, no theories…

      He is rightly pointing out that everyone in F1 needs to hold itself to a higher standard given their position in the public and shouldn’t even be in this mess to begin with. Regardless of the outcome this whole story will have an impact on Formula 1. Everyone will (or I guess should) be running HR refreshers and ensuring their policies and reporting procedures are safe and compliant with the law.

      Taking shots would be pointing out that Red Bull protested getting rid of grid girls, or that just a week ago celebrated their rebelious party culture of rule-breaking at their launch.

      Presumption of innocence doesn’t mean the accusation is devoid of existence.

      1. Not to mention if it impacts the Ford deal due to Horners apparent inseperability from the team. That could impact more broadly how teams should even be structured to prevent such a fallout in the future stemming from one person’s actions.

      2. Tristan, if any other team manager had said the same thing that Wolff had, they probably would attract little attention, or perhaps even be praised for it. However, because many have trained themselves to automatically retaliate against Wolff, even if it is something that they would normally support, they will instead attack.

      3. Did you even read the comments? It assumes that what is happening to Horner is supposed to yield so learning for everyone in F1, which implies wrongdoing of some kind. Now, maybe Horner did something criminal and ends up charged criminally. On the other hand, maybe this was a cash-grab spurious accusation. We don’t know. Everyone involved has kept details of the investigation under a tight lid. As they should.

        I think people can see what Toto was doing there.

        1. which implies wrongdoing of some kind

          Disagree, there are things to learn from any outcome.

          In fact there’s probably the most to learn as to how this could all be avoided if Horner IS innocent.

          1. If there was a hint of that in Toto’s comments I wouldn’t have said what I said. But read Toto’s comments. It absolutely assumes there is a problem that needs fixing an that Horner’s problem is part of it. Do you really not see that?

          2. It absolutely assumes there is a problem that needs fixing an that Horner’s problem is part of it

            Yes, I agree with that, but it doesn’t say Horner did anything wrong, which is what you said first and what I disagree with.

            The way I read it is he’s basically saying this is a global phenomenon, and an individual problem for Red Bull for this specific case, not an F1 problem, that it could happen anywhere, which is true, because it does. That nobody wants this to be in the news, and that it’s a problem for F1 that it is, and they need to look at what they can do to prevent anything like this from being in the news again in the future.

            I don’t see him saying Horner has done anything wrong, or is innocent either way…

  3. Not really.

  4. he’s being quite sweet saying the investigation is independent and transparent, when it’s a drinks company investigation that’s been totally secret!

    1. It’s an internal investigation by Red Bull. If I was investigated by my company for something, I wouldn’t expect regular updates to be provided to other companies about it….

      If the FIA want to investigate, they can do so and that can be done in a more open and transparent way but the Red Bull investigation has nothing to do with Toto so why should he be provided information?

      1. Transparency on*

      2. Toto isn’t saying he expects anything, he’s being nice to Red Bull and his mate Christian, pretending it’s independent and transparent

        1. You a clearly biased and perhaps salty about 2021?

          The reality is that commenting on a current internal investigation about which almost nothing has been revealed, is premature. I imagine Toto is salty too and still remains angry about the investigation he threw a fit about regarding him and his wife. So this is a subtle way of smearing Horner now that there is an opportunity.

          I think everyone else sees it, hence the comments.

          1. Speculation may sometimes be impolite but is not at all uncommon.
            The time taken so far for the investigation would appear to be evidence of substance in and of itself.
            That Redbull have dragged this into the preseason invites parties with a well ground axe to comment (and perhaps twist the implement a little should the opportunity beg).

          2. @Elvira It’s just a lose-lose situation.
            If they wrapped it up quickly they would say it wasn’t a serious investigation.
            If they take a while, then they are dragging their feet.
            If they don’t talk about what’s going on then it’s indicative of the seriousness of the transgression
            If they talk about it then it would be said they are doing PR and manipulating the public.

            I have no idea if there was wrongdoing. But I do know for sure that regardless of what was done, even if nothing was done, that it will hurt Red Bull and Horner.

          3. He’s not saying anything, read carefully. The comments are cos it’s easy pickings for someone with a lot of accounts to have convos with them, also a real person commented omg :)

          4. @ajpennypacker they’re already beyond the timeframe that would demonstrate a diligent investigation of what must be limited incidents (if it wasn’t limited, it would already be over). All that could be going on now is protracted negotiations but it’s more likely just PR timing.
            @zann, you and I are the only real people here – everyone else is an NPC to distract us when the glitches are too infrequent.

    2. We need more transpa6on the masi nda. Eventually the truth will come out.

      1. yes please! NDA drama, injustice, victim, bad guys, conspiracy

        I don’t see why it would come out tho

        1. @zann you really do seem to be aggressively trying to stir up trouble and controversy in these threads with these sorts of comments.

          1. go away Yellow Baron lol. Honestly you troll for replies then when you get one it scares you

          2. @zann, asides from falsely linking me to another poster, the way you have responded does indeed suggest that you are knowingly acting in a malicious manner with the intent of causing trouble.

  5. I think what Red Bull has started, an independent investigation that is done in the right way with transparency and rigour, I think that’s something we need to look at – what the outcomes are and what it means for Formula 1 and how we can learn from that

    Two ways to read this:

    What we can learn from the outcome of this investigation.

    Or, what we can learn from the process of a team running an investigation (in the “right way” not to cast dispersions) like this, and how it has impacted F1.

    My tin foil hat says the latter and he’s implying a truly independent investigation would be better, but it could simply be the first one…

  6. Blah blah blah

    Keep it in the public, speculate and promote controversy and imply things when nothing is really known except rumours. All things which sell news and undermine red bull.

    Whatever. I think ill just wait and see what happens. It will come out in the wash

  7. Yesterday I heard adverts for Sky TV plugging the new F1 season. “For only 15 pounds more per month.”

    I think this is a cleverly orchestrated media thing and Horner is playing the bad guy until the season starts and Big Money has got as many new paying subscribers as it possibly can.
    Wolff is playing his part too.
    Bread & circuses for the masses. Mostly circuses.

Comments are closed.