Zak Brown, Bruno Famin, Laurent Mekies, Alessandro Alunni Bravi, Christian Horner, Bahrain, 2024

Horner investigation “not the kind of headlines F1 wants or needs” – Brown

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McLaren CEO Zak Brown says Formula 1 needs to see a swift resolution to Red Bull’s investigation of Christian Horner.

The Red Bull team principal said he could not discuss the company’s examination of allegations made against him as the pair appeared in an FIA press conference today.

Red Bull has only confirmed that an investigation began over two weeks ago and said it will not comment further until it is concluded. Brown said “the allegations are extremely serious” and do not reflect well on F1.

Asked whether the nature of the allegations against Horner reflect on attitudes towards sexual equality in F1, Brown said: “McLaren holds themselves and all the men and women at McLaren to the highest standards. Obviously, diversity and equality and inclusion are extremely important to us, our partners, to everyone in Formula 1.”

“Red Bull corporation, it appears, has launched an investigation and all we hope and assume is that will be handled in a very transparent way as FIA and Formula 1 has said,” he continued. “We need to handle it swiftly because I don’t believe these are the type of headlines that Formula 1 wants or needs at this time.

“I just think it’s important that it’s handled in a transparent way in which there’s no doubt whatsoever that it’s been handled appropriately. And, whatever the conclusion is, that conclusion is handled in an appropriate, transparent, manner.”

Horner, appearing in an FIA press conference for the first time this year, said in response to the same question he could not discuss the investigation.

“As you’re well aware, there’s a process going on which I form part of and as I form part of that process, I’m afraid I cannot comment on it,” he said.

“I really can’t comment on the process or the timescale,” he added. “I think obviously everybody would like a conclusion as soon as possible but I’m really not at liberty to comment about the process.”

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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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32 comments on “Horner investigation “not the kind of headlines F1 wants or needs” – Brown”

  1. It’s a pity Steiner is no longer there to tell the journo’s what he thinks of these questions in his own inimitable style.

    All the principles will say the same as Zach, and there is no way that Christian COULD comment. Journo simply wasted a question there.

    1. it’s not really a wasted question – now someone else is saying “transparent”, when obviously the entire setup with the corporately contracted barrister is to keep the whole thing 100% secret and behind the drinks company’s not even slightly transparent closed doors!

      1. Completely agree, the words matter, the story matters. The last thing F1 wants is its own metoo.

        If everyone just said “no comment” it would look as if the whole paddock is protecting Horner. This way they’re carefully not defaming him, but also not going so far as to pretend the issue doesn’t exist and everything is “as-normal”

        1. No comment does not mean they protecting Horner it means No comment because they don’t know …

          Opinions doesn’t matter ………. untill we know.

  2. Not the type of headline F1 needs, yet Brown & Wolff so far spoke on the matter to enable headlines…

    Brown needs to let his obsession with Red Bull go. He has been obsessing for weeks about Red Bull & Racing Bulls doing what other teams have been doing for years. What is happening is not even close to Ferrari designing Haas’ first car or Mercedes giving Racing Point access to their car to copy.

    It is hypocritical of Wolff to comment, considering he hid behind his wife & expensive lawyer to make the investigation in to his actions go away, whereas the Horner and Red Bull have just been quietly getting on with it. Meanwhile the media is sensationalising it meaning people are coming up with wild rumours that that aren’t supported by the known actions Red Bull has taken.

    1. journalists spoke about it and asked.

    2. What is happening is not even close to Ferrari designing Haas’ first car or Mercedes giving Racing Point access to their car to copy.

      Not even close? How about Red Bull technology literally building All the parts for both cars… Didn’t see Merc or Ferrari doing that for their customers even if the rubbish you’ve made up is true.

      1. If you want to be correct, Mercedes and Ferrari do exactly just that!

        Mercedes build all of the parts for their own car, Aston Martin and Williams (potentially McLaren too), Ferrari build all of the parts for their own car and Haas.

        This is perfectly within the rules and has been done by others for a long time. Selling non-listed parts to other teams is within the rules. This is allowed.

        Red Bull isn’t making listed parts for Racing Bulls or vice versa. That is just a baseless claim because they are now doing something they could have been for years.

        1. lol. the parts merc and ferrari build are the engine. To compare it to RBR and the cash appers is funny, as they even include their B team in their race strategy sometimes.

  3. And yet by responding the way he did, he is furthering the creation of negative headlines surrounding the story. All he needed to say was that he hopes there is a speedy and transparent conclusion. By bringing McLaren into it as a comparison point, he is indirectly implying that Red Bull do not adhere to the same standards as McLaren, which hasn’t been proven.

    1. So now it’s Zak Brown’s fault?

      “It’s not the headlines F1 wants or needs”…but it is what it’s got, so he’s dealing with the question asked of him. Do we expect him to just stay quiet and hope it all goes away? Is that how we, as a society, deal with issues we wish weren’t there?

      1. It is partially Zak’s fault that there continue to be negative headlines, yes. But to be clear, as I presume this is what you were insulating, it is not Zak’s fault that there is an investigation occurring in Red Bull that is rumored to include serious accusations that should be dealt with seriously. And also to be clear, I never said he shouldn’t answer a question from a reporter. Like I said, he could have answered the question differently which would have not added to the negative headlines he says F1 doesn’t want or need.

        1. When he says F1 doesn’t want it, he doesn’t mean that they should shy away from talking about it to literally avoid it.

          1. The fact it is an on-going matter, of which there are very few details available, and most crucially is an internal Red Bull matter for them to deal with, is a reason for it to be avoided.

            No one from Red Bull will be allowed to discuss the matter. It is pointless to even bring it up. Other than for the Wolff gang to act petty.

          2. this has nothing to do with wolff. sorry this doesnt meat your bias.

    2. He’s right to note that F1 doesn’t need this kind of attention. And he reaffirms McLaren’s own standards, which seems fair enough. He’s there to talk up his own team after all.

      They could all sit there and say ‘no comment’ to everything that’s asked, but it’s not like he’s making a dramatic scene about wanting to stay as far away from Horner as possible because ‘who knows what that guy gets up to!!’. It’s all rather mundane.

    3. Red Bull do not adhere to the same standards as McLaren, which hasn’t been proven.

      Well no one at McLaren has leaked evidence of their harassment to the press so yeah, maybe they do have better standards…

      1. No one at Red Bull has leaked evidence of harassment either. We don’t even know whether the messages actually exist, or whether they constitute harassment.

        People so desperately for it to be a serious sexual misconduct issue despite the actions taken by Red Bull GmbH (not the Red Bull Racing team) not supporting the actual nature of the matter being that serious. Especially if the talk about a power struggle being correct, which would have seen the bar set very low for suspension and dismissal.

        The journalist was given the messages for a reason, so bear in mind his interpretation/presenting of the messages will be done in a manner favourable to those who gave him them, rather than presenting them in a neutral manner. Him being seemingly the only person with access to them should arouse suspicion.

  4. Why is everyone blaming Brown for giving the media something to write about, while the entire ‘story’ around the investigation is nothing more than recycling headlines by the media themselves? It’s mostly off-season-sad-‘journalism’.

    In the last paragraph I see Horner saying:

    “I think obviously everybody would like a conclusion as soon as possible but I’m really not at liberty to comment about the process.”

    Now we can wait till an article appears with Christian Horner wants “conclusion as soon as possible”, with another comment section for us to fill below.

    1. @Ruben:
      I think it is his choice of words. If he really thinks “not the kind of headlines F1 wants or needs” then he should say: “no comment”. But instead he gives an answer which includes “We need to handle it swiftly”. No you don’t. You’re not part of the “we” in that quote. So now he is actually creating the headlines F1 supposedly does not want…

      They all should answer something like:
      You’re asking me about a private corporate investigation into allegations? All I can comment on that is: if a work related issue would arise in our organization we would also launch an investigation because we believe in A, B and C (insert current relevant virtue signalling). So strictly speaking, it is ultimately a good thing to see an organization important to F1 taking matters seriously. For any other question on this topic I would suggest asking RBR.

      1. You’re not part of the “we” in that quote.

        F1’s reputation is absolutely Brown’s business.

        That’s the other side of this not-a-cartel. They’re all in this together, good and bad.

        1. @MichaelN
          While you’re not wrong there is a defendable “we” in F1’s reputation, I think my comment still stands. He has no business saying “we” need to handle it swiftly

  5. Zak sounds like a jilted ex-girlfriend, anytime there’s a microphone in the room he just can’t stop talking about Red Bull every chance he gets.

    1. F1 is a political game as much as a sport, it’s a real life Game of Thrones, without the murder ofcourse. I don’t understand how that’s not more obvious to people.

  6. Zak Brown wishes he could be Red Bull. The best they can do is come second best in every department to Red Bull.

  7. The irony of running this article is not lost on me

    1. bad medicine

  8. I think what the other Team Principals are really saying is “gee I hope my team isn’t next” knowing full well that as soon as one allegation surfaces there’s a likelihood of new ones surfacing from all over the place given that F1 is no different to any other workplace in the “entertainment” industry.
    There’s no question really that over the past 30 or 40 years there would have been some behavior that would have been out of line with today’s standards and quite likely swept under the rug as they were up until recent times. The only question is how much of that might be surfaced now that it’s happened for the first time.

    1. It’s promising for F1 that it hasn’t… Really not one person has been confident enough to speak out on any kind of damaging experience, that gives me a lot of hope that things are actually on the up and up, or at least the appropriate due diligence has been carried out to ensure those who have had troubling experiences have been adequately compensated.

      The biggest issue here really seems to have been that 650,000 was simply not enough. And in todays economy, I don’t blame them.

  9. With these things, especialy when media is involved and you are a high profile character, it’s always

    Guilty until proven otherwise

    1. And even when proven innocent, still at least a little bit guilty for ever after.

    2. Yes your right and that is why we (the beter people around) should ignore any articles untill they come forth.

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