Christian Horner, Red Bull, Bahrain International Circuit, 2024

Horner denies allegations again after leak claiming to reveal private messages

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In the round-up: Red Bull team principal Christian Horner again denied allegations of inappropriate behaviour after a series of messages purporting to involve him were leaked.

In brief

Horner denies allegation again after leak

Red Bull Austria officially cleared Horner to remain in charge of the team on Wednesday following what they called an independent investigation. However yesterday over 100 people in F1 received what is claimed to be copies of text and image exchanges between Horner and a team member, sent from an anonymous email account.

Horner stated he would not comment on “anonymous speculation” but repeated he has “always denied the allegations.”

Red Bull arranged a “thorough and fair investigation conducted by an independent specialist barrister,” Horner continued, “and it has concluded, dismissing the complaint made. I remain fully focused on the start of the season.

Haas look “quicker than I would like” – Albon

After posting the 11th fastest time from the first day of practice in Bahrain, Williams driver Alexander Albon admits he was surprised to see Haas driver Nico Hulkenberg half a second quicker than him.

“I think we were surprised by our pace in FP1,” he said. “We’re actually quite good on the medium tyres and then we lose a bit of pace when we go to softs.

“[We have] some work to do in terms of balance. More so just some cars around us are quicker than I would like – the Haas especially. So we have to look around, see what we can do better.”

Porsche Penske on top in WEC practice

Porsche Penske set the pace on the opening day of practice for the season-opening World Endurance Championship race in Qatar.

The number six Porsche of Kevin Estre, Andre Lotterer and Laurens Vanthoor set the quickest time of a 1’39.990, seven tenths of a second faster than the number 93 Peugeot and Jota’s number 38 Porsche.

World champions Toyota were only eighth and 13th fastest for their number seven and world champion number eight crew, respectively.

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Comment of the day

With Zak Brown questioning if Red Bull’s ownership of two F1 teams should continue to be allowed in the future, MaddSusie looks at the matter from a different perspective…

When Red Bull bought RB (Toro Rosso or AlphaTauri), they were allowed by the FIA and kept up the number of teams on the grid. Had Red Bull not bought the team, we would only have 18 cars on the grid for the majority of the last 10 years.

Zak Brown has been generally fairly quiet about Red Bull owning two teams on the grid, with the exception of the past few months, especially since Red Bull’s dominance last season. As others have said, Ferrari and Haas work very closely together, with Haas using as many Ferrari supplied parts as possible. It’s not like Red Bull Racing are designing the RB car, they are merely providing some parts (less parts than Ferrari supply to Haas) and also using the Red Bull Racing testing facilities (again some teams use other teams’ testing facilities, either in or out of F1).

Happy birthday!

Happy birthday to Jose Arellano, Becca Blue, Robert and Penny!

On this day in motorsport

  • On this day in 1994 Martin Brundle tested in secret for McLaren at Silverstone as he hoped to land a race seat at the team. On the same day at Magny-Cours Eddie Irvine suffered a heavy crash while testing for Jordan.

Author information

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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104 comments on “Horner denies allegations again after leak claiming to reveal private messages”

  1. This Horner saga is so full of twists and turns by now, so I have decided not to participate in any real discussion on the matter. Instead I grab some popcorn and remind myself that there are much more pressing matters in the world than F1 juice of any kind.

    1. Popcorn? Surely Coco Pops?

    2. I don’t know, can’t really take these leaks as evidence as much. I wish something like this would get tested in court. Screenshots are so easy to fake, hell AI pictures themselves are. None of it is evidence of anything and I’m surprised (but I guess not) to see it being used as a source on any page of any newspaper, let alone the front.

      None of that is to excuse Horner of any of his behavior if it’s true. Would be thoroughly disappointing, imagine having an affair with the PA in this age. Embarrassing.

      1. Note that Horner hasn’t denied that the messages are his, only the allegations against him (although we still don’t know precisely what those allegations are).

        Even without resorting to Photoshop and AI deepfakes, it’s possible to present a distorted picture by omission. We don’t know whether the leaked evidence is the whole of what was considered during the investigation, and whether there might be other evidence that paints this stuff in a better light, or at least explains why the investigator didn’t feel they could uphold the complaint.

        1. Is it true that the ‘anonymous’ email address he was (allegedly) using was:

          1. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
            1st March 2024, 12:28


      2. @Tristan

        None of that is to excuse Horner of any of his behavior if it’s true. Would be thoroughly disappointing, imagine having an affair with the PA in this age. Embarrassing.

        You seem to think that:
        A. People can fairly easily be dissuaded from having affairs
        B. We are dissuading people more than when having affairs was illegal and people were much more punished socially for having affairs

        I believe that history shows that both of these ideas are quite false, although I’m familiar with the very distorted view on human behavior and history that many progressives have.

        None of that is to excuse Horner

        It seems rather arrogant for you to believe that a person that you don’t personally know & that you are only familiar with due to his work, would need to be excused by you in the first place, for probably having had an affair.

        1. I believe that history shows that both of these ideas are quite false

          History shows lots of things, that we are learning from and publicly as a society trying to do better at. Taking advantage of an employee sexually is definitely something people can and should be dissuaded from. Again, not to say that Horner has done that. It’s still all a big if.

          would need to be excused by you

          That was just said in the context of the first part of my comment… I don’t presume to judge.

          1. @Tristan,

            Societies have been discouraging adultery for millennia, so I don’t really get why you would think that we now suddenly found a way to control these very strong human impulses. Do you really think that partially rolling back the sexual revolution, which we are doing now, is done in a way that is more forceful or more effective than millennia of attempts to do the same, which were never more than partially successful?

            In any case, I don’t see evidence that anyone was taken advantage of here. I just don’t see how a person would even be capable of the kind of banter I see in the messages, if they were actually being coerced.

            If she thought that she was promised certain things or whatever, then we are just getting into the high school drama side of things, where you have to wade through the normal human miscommunications, assumptions, dishonesty, attempts to manipulate each other and all that other relationship stuff that employers certainly shouldn’t get involved in, for all our sake.

      3. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
        1st March 2024, 12:47

        I can’t imagine that Red Bull did not settle on this especially if there are incriminating texts and images. His response and the investigation’s definitely suggests that something happened. Is it severe enough to win in court? I don’t know but if it goes to court, it risks staining Red Bull as an organization and F1 forever.

        For me, it’s going to be one of the silliest decisions ever made. Why run the risk of Red Bull being disliked by the entire world when you’re the world champions? What do you stand to gain that it’s worth losing almost everything over that?

        I think I know the answer – it’s arrogance as is usually the case in these nonsensical decisions.

        I remember a restaurant where they served a cockroach to a customer and then did it again but had the audacity to ask the person to pay for the other person in the party only taking off his food from the bill. He laughed, took out his phone, and called the cops who then called the Health Department who did a deep inspection of the kitchen. The restaurant had to close for a year and rebuild their kitchen and lost millions. They also made the cardinal mistake of building a hidden kitchen instead of opening the kitchen to full view. After they opened, they lasted a few years and operated at a loss. All over a single meal and the audacity to ask the person to pay.

        It cost the owner easily 30 million or so over a period of 10 years and he appeared on TV shows to try and bring people back. But we’d been to the restaurant and knew how annoying the people were that worked there so it was no surprise.

        Who’s laughing now…

        1. Why run the risk of Red Bull being disliked by the entire world when you’re the world champions?

          Your takes are honestly almost never any good. A certain country has a president who is on video touching and sniffing girls inappropriately where they seem extremely uncomfortable with it, and yet he has a lot of people backing him, so much so that he is running again for a second term. If so many people consider that acceptable, why would a bit of adultery suddenly make them all dislike Red Bull?

          So you are making assumptions about what other people believe that do not seem at all justified.

  2. It’s not like Red Bull Racing are designing the RB car, they are merely providing some parts (less parts than Ferrari supply to Haas)

    Is that true? What I read suggested they now are providing the maximum number of parts possible within the rules. I also didn’t think Haas were taking as many Ferrari parts as they did say the start.

    This isn’t an attack on them doing so, just looking to clarify the point.

    1. @drmouse yes, it was confirmed last year that Red Bull’s junior team would be looking to maximise the number of components that could be transferred from one team to another. It is why, for example, the new car now has a pull rod front suspension – it’s not just following the design trend of the RB19, the front suspension components are the same ones that the RB19 was using.

      The comment about using the same facilities also misses the point that was being complained about – it wasn’t just the sharing of the facilities, but that staff from both teams would also sometimes be sharing the same building. There is also the shared use of the same design business – Red Bull Technologies – by both teams, which is something unique to the two Red Bull teams.

      1. There is also the shared use of the same design business – Red Bull Technologies – by both teams, which is something unique to the two Red Bull teams.

        This is just false, and not just because you don’t even know the proper name, which is Red Bull Technology. They just make the transmissions for both teams, which is fully legal. For example, Williams gets its transmission from Mercedes now.

        The rules require the chassis to be designed independently and the teams have to prove this.

      2. notagrumpyfan
        1st March 2024, 10:02

        As per the OP question/doubt, this is something Haas is (was) also doing. Haas even went one step further and used Ferrari staff; I’m not sure if they still do it.

        Both (and others) are just doing what the rules allow.
        Rather than crying brown wolf, other teams should see where else they can use the rules (already sharing PU and software) or lobby to change those rules.

        1. As per the OP question/doubt, this is something Haas is (was) also doing. Haas even went one step further and used Ferrari staff; I’m not sure if they still do it.

          I think you’re referring to the documented secondment of Ferrari staff to Haas in the run-up to them joining F1, and therefore not subject to the restrictions.
          As soon as they were properly in F1 that secondment ceased.
          Most people were more concerned about the back transfer of experimental data from the prototypes than any benefit to Haas.

          1. notagrumpyfan
            1st March 2024, 11:36

            I was actually referring to the excess Ferrari staff who worked on the Haas project when the budget cap was introduced.
            I understand that Simone Resta is now moving back to Ferrari.

  3. Can’t help believe this is all just a hatchet job to get rid of Horner.

    Toto & co love it because it causes instability

    1. notagrumpyfan
      1st March 2024, 10:06

      This was to be expected in F1.

      Just extremely disappointing that this website, and especially Will Wood, keeps on lowering itself (The Sun) and reports on this fake sideshow.

      1. The British press (including this site) love it though. All they want is for Lewis to win some races so are playing their part to try and destabilise Red Bull. It’s disappointing to see people try and benefit from these very serious allegations in this way but I think we’ve come to expect from British journalists and those high up in F1 so it’s not surprising. It will directly contribute towards people not coming forward with complaints in future though because the whole circus will get involved instead of giving it the privacy it deserves.

        1. Yes, the British press love it, but you are mistaken if you think their interest in the story has anything to do with who wins races on a Formula 1 circuit, particularly when “the press” means “the tabloid press”.
          They couldn’t care less about Horner being an F1 team boss. What interests them is that he is married to Geri Halliwell.

          1. Absolutely correct!

            To me though, as someone else has said, the words used in defence refer to clearing rather than innocence. A month long investigation clearly uncovered something or it would have been days. Had the outcome been 100% in favour of CH, surely the report would not run to hundreds of pages and be kept hidden. The legal definition of libel/slander requires the claimant to demonstrate significant and lasting damage to their reputation. This allegation is doing just that, but for some reason he’s not going to court to defend. He has the details of the accuser within the report they will not leak (and if not then the report has not got to the bottom of it in order to clear him, pointless) so he SHOULD be going to court with them if it is as clear cut as he asserts they are…

            Having said the above, is whatever went on newsworthy enough to get this level of coverage if Mrs Horner wasn’t famous herself?

        2. The story first appeared in the Dutch press though, and all they want is for Max to win all the races! They all want the same thing, which is to sell newspapers and drive internet traffic based on celebrity tittle-tattle.

  4. Ferrari and Haas work very closely together, with Haas using as many Ferrari supplied parts as possible

    The difference between RB and Ferrari/Haas is that Red Bull own both teams in their entirety. Red Bull manage all 4 drivers. Red Bull make the parts for all 4 cars (as they happily gloat about in their recent article). It’s a completely different situation to one team buying parts off another as a supplier.

    One group owning 2 teams is definitely a performance advantage, they can learn twice as much and experiment without risk, while having a completely controlled proving ground for their drivers that no other team has. Just keeping the race teams separate, but then moving staff between them anyway while saying they’re completely different and just like any other 2 teams on the grid is a complete joke.

    Red Bull’s level of competitiveness speaks for itself. Not to say any of this is a “bad” thing per-se. But it raises the question of how much harder it is for anybody else to compete. Especially now that there’s the budget cap and one team can’t just outspend to compensate.

    1. Red Bull’s level of competitiveness speaks for itself.

      Under this exact same ownership/operational situation, Red Bull placed behind Mercedes for 7 years straight….
      And even now, Red Bull’s ‘advantage’ is only apparent with one of their cars most of the time.

      Perhaps they are actually playing by the rules after all? As much as any other team does, anyway.

    2. F1 was begging for this when they desperately needed it, so now they can’t really complain about it retroactively. I agree with people saying that Haas is closer to Ferrari than RB is to another RB. They don’t exchange the drivers (Ferrari often had their say though, and Haas has to use Ferrari juniors and allow one seat for a Ferrari driver if requested), but they do use Ferrari staff, parts and design. RB (B team… huh) are capable of designing a car. Haas isn’t. RB could operate on their own, Haas simply can’t.

      1. Do you think the Haas team just shows up to the track and the car and everything is waiting there for them? All provided for by Ferrari? I cannot reconcile your comment with reality.

      2. Sure they can, it’s twenty years later and there are other, real, FIA approved teams wanting to join.

    3. Red Bull make the parts for all 4 cars

      Thats a stretch of the truth..
      They only make the allowed party. All otter party and the chassis is made by TR/Carboon in a own factoren.
      White Haas ie is only designen the chassis and Dallara building it.
      Btw, McLaren uses the same engineering, clutch, rearwheel geometry and gearbox as Mercedes. As does Williams sinterklaas last year.

  5. Horner must be on lettuce countdown, surely.
    As for Red Bull’s ‘investigation,’ that aged well. Less than a day in fact.

    1. If anything I think the length of the investigation and outcome of it is more relevant than ever having seen those leaks. There are so many questions if that is what they were working from.

      Now the biggest question is will they stand by it? (assuming these leaks are not just the biggest troll of the century)

      1. I was reminded of the end of Contact and the 19 hours of static recorded on Jodie Foster’s derided non-existent trip to meet some aliens. The Red Bull report ran to 600 pages yet they say they found nothing…

        1. The report was 600 pages? That’s quite a book!

          Not surprised though, like all legal documents there is bound to be a good part dedicated to giving everyone involved an excuse to deny any responsibility for the outcome.

        2. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
          1st March 2024, 13:04

          @david-br where did you hear that it was 600 pages long? The more small details surface, the more it appears that it’s not a frivolous case.

          Horner is at the top of the organization so for the person to have access to Horner, they must have been pretty high up in the organization as there’d be no direct connection otherwise.

          Contact is one of my favorite science fiction movies.

          1. Thanks G, that’s where I read it (first link)

            @freelittlebirds One of my favourites too, though Carl Sagan’s vision was spoiled a bit by the now dated (even for the US) McConaughey-delivered religious nonsense!

    2. >everything on the internet is real
      >Photoshop doesn’t exist
      >Faking WhatsApp conversations isn’t LITERALLY AN APP

      Imagine being so guilable

      1. And imagine someone who`d never heard the mantra ‘deny everything’ a million times from those with more power.
        None of this ‘reads’ like a fake claim against Horner and nobody involved in Red Bull or Formula 1 has yet, even Horner, to my knowledge, claimed the images are fake. It’s all about ‘rejecting the allegations.’ Which can be read as ‘rejecting the claimant’s interpretation of events’ not ‘they didn’t happen.’ Either the whole story has been invented, in which case I feel deeply sorry for Horner, but it seems unlikely given his own weighed responses, or a junior colleague has been harassed and been left in a classic situation of being unable to shutdown obsessive unwanted behaviour without jeopardizing job and career.

        1. notagrumpyfan
          1st March 2024, 10:20

          or a junior colleague has been harassed and been left in a classic situation of being unable to shutdown obsessive unwanted behaviour without jeopardizing job and career.

          As there was an independent investigation dismissing the complaint, you can almost certainly exclude that option.

          1. I think any independence is wafer-thin in this instance.

      2. Also: Photoshop leave artefacts that are detectable (likewise AI). If the messages/screenshots are genuine, the claimant will be able to prove so.

    3. @david-br

      As for Red Bull’s ‘investigation,’ that aged well. Less than a day in fact.

      The messages I saw from the leak doesn’t show anything else than what seems to be an affair where both parties consented and behaved like people in affairs do.

      In what way do you believe that this shows the investigation to have been done wrong? Do you believe that companies have the right and/or obligation to fire employees who have affairs?

      1. I haven’t seen the alleged messages, so I’m extrapolating from the media reports about alleged persistent messaging as being a nuisance/harassment, which to me would be (is) the key issue. People’s jobs and careers can be wrecked by these situations – in either direction, as unfounded allegations or as well-founded allegations that are dismissed (possibly with negative career and emotional repercussions on the victim). My personal opinion is irrelevant (though personally I think what consenting adults do is up to them: but when people are employed in different positions of seniority in the same company, complicated professional/personal conflicts arise, so both need to be aware of the risks). Note that if someone has an affair, terminates the relationship but the other party persists in wanting it to continue, then the situation can become one of harassment still – irrespective of past history.

        1. I would be very surprised if Horner, highly professional and driven as he is, were to have an affair with a colleague, but of course, I can’t rule out that possibility.
          It seems absurd to try and keep this as a secret investigation with no details given out. RB and Horner are incredibly high profile and sooner or later all will be revealed. It is generally better to make the revelations officially rather than leave it to the press.

  6. Having seen the text messages, I can say if they’re real, he’s an idiot and should be fired. Do they look real? Yes. Am I certain that they’re real? Absolutely not.

    1. Which begs the question, why would the independent investigator, and Red Bull, clear Horner if he had been so clumsy and obvious?

  7. Great helmet designs.

    1. notagrumpyfan
      1st March 2024, 10:22

      Imagine this: helmet designs are now the most F1 racing related topics we find in the round-up.

  8. Regardless whether those messages are real or not: someone desperately wants to get Horner out.

    1. Thats indeed the real conclusion here. Its a target attack. Not by the one who did the original accusations. She could use here right to appel. Combined with the reaction of TW an ZB it really stincks..

      1. Absolutely – seems like a witch hunt

  9. Ian Stephens
    1st March 2024, 7:15

    Hell hath no fury…

  10. And who wouldn’t believe the word of a man who previously left his wife and young children to be with a former Spice Girl?

    1. Like the saying goes, how you get them is how you lose them.

      Anyway, while Horner has long ago confirmed himself to be a disreputable character, it still doesn’t mean everything said about him is true.

      Soon enough the relevance and authenticity of the leaks will be determined. What already seems clear is that some people within Red Bull want Horner to go. No idea why, though.

    2. His then pregnant wife even, yeah

      1. maybe she went crazy because of his business schedule, and the split was more amicable ? Who knows, not very many, and why would you even want to know ? Its not your business. The erosion of privacy in the last 20 years is turning society in to cancer.

  11. It doesn’t matter what the content is. Someone with deep connections wants him gone for good. They want him gone so badly that they don’t mind leaking private conversations that completely expose him. Even worse this supposed evidence was available only to Van Haren, the female employee, Horner and the barrister in addition to the RB board. Apparently Jos also received a copy.

    Of course this is only part of the evidence but the whole picture with complete evidence might be why Horner still has a job.

    It’s quite clear Horner has killed a marriage in all likelihood. Will he save his job? Looks like if he had given up the latter he might have had the former.

    1. Even worse this supposed evidence was available only to Van Haren, the female employee, Horner and the barrister in addition to the RB board. Apparently Jos also received a copy.

      Plus all the minor, invisible ‘nobodies’ that work in the clerical posts in all those offices and probably had to type up, make and send copies to all authorised parties.
      They may be low paid, but they are still people and if you don’t treat them as such, karma will bite big time.

  12. I’m not sure why this Horner story has so much prevalence. I understand that this is an internal power play, but it’s descended into tabloid fodder.

    I detest Horner – I think he’s arrogant and smarmy; someone who confuses ruthlessness and low integrity. But I don’t think he should lose his job for an affair. Is it immoral? Yes. Should we all do it? No. But is it a sackable offence?

    The F1 community has been baying for blood on this for weeks now. I’ve seen innumerate suggestions of a pay-off and a cover-up. It seems to me that he’s had an affair, the relationship has fallen away – or never started, and his partner has raised it as an internal concern. An independent investigation looked at it and found it to be underhand but not in breach of the rules and as a result he is free to proceed.

    If anyone is surprised by Horner’s actions, I suggest they have a poor measure of the man. But I also wonder if his team was in mid table if we would all be as excited about this. If Zak Brown had an affair, meeting a sponsor through a work event, would we be calling for his resignation? I can understand why other team bosses want to make this big news – instability and momentum are crucial at the top of F1, but having read the leaks I don’t see anything scandalous enough to consider the investigation corrupt, or to suggest this should be the main story on a qualifying day.

    1. I’ve also read the leaked messages, the link appeared on several message boards already, and while there was nothing particularly graphic in there it was very, very clear through several of the messages that the lady in question was trying to stop things without upsetting him (he’s her boss). Its not clear how far things went before she did try to stop. It seems he simply wouldn’t take no for an answer and kept pestering her for things she simply didn’t want to do or provide.

      Which, if genuine – they are only images after all, and can be faked, is basically the kind of behaviour that doesn’t surprise me given my already low opinion of the man.

      On top of all the other sins, he doesn’t understand the difference between “your” and “you’re” – which in itself should be a sackable offence if you ask me.

    2. @rbalonso There’s a whole range of possibilities from intense months/years-long affair, to one ‘moment’ that one party them wished to leave at that, to one person obsessing over another without any reciprocation beyond polite push back, to the other person inventing everything. I think the issue is the middle two: if someone didn’t want any affair (or wanted to end one) and they couldn’t get the other person, in a senior position, to stop harassing them about it, then it is actually a serious issue for Red Bull and Formula 1. The complainant reported the situation (eventually) and Red Bull did what in response? Because the answer to that will determine how safe people think of Red Bull and F1 generally as a working environment and career, especially women. That’s why the issue is clearly concerning other teams too. People can explain that as other teams eager to exploit Red Bull turmoil, but I don’t think that’s the case. They’re asking for transparency because otherwise it’s a potentially damaging situation more widely.

      1. Red Bull employed an external, independent law firm to investigate the matter. That investigation was so thorough that the team’s partners outlined frustration over its length. It concluded that there wasn’t a legal case to answer.

        I suppose it boils down to what one defines as inappropriate. Do I consider this to be an abuse of power? Probably. Do I think the claimant went about it in the correct manner? I do. Are the leaked texts definitive proof of harassment? The investigation doesn’t seem to think so.

        From what we, the public, are entitled to, I think we have enough evidence to suggest that due process was followed. That moves this saga on from ‘team principal ousting’ to ‘team principal affair’. I have very little interest in the latter, personally.

        1. @rbalonso Clearly there’s a basic incompatibility between considering there was an abuse of power and no disciplinary action being taken by Red Bull. Does that mean the company is fine with abuses of power when the person involved is too valuable to them? I don’t see that he would need to be sacked or ousted. But some official acknowledgement and disciplinary action would surely be needed. Red Bull announced an internal investigation and said no action was necessary after investigation when they didn’t have to make anything public. But in choosing to do so, they’ve generated publicity that has consequences and implications. The issue for me (and probably a lot of other people involved in the sport) is that Formula 1 has to provide a safe working environment with equal opportunities and professionalism. The question is whether Red Bull are providing that. I’ve no interest in the affair bit either. But that seems to be an assumption (often framed in sexist fashion) made by the ‘internet’ not from any evidence. The only claims I’ve heard from the parties indicate an entirely or predominantly one-way situation. Like I said, that would be different.

          1. Clearly there’s a basic incompatibility between considering there was an abuse of power and no disciplinary action being taken by Red Bull.

            Why do you claim that there was ‘abuse of power’?
            The independent investigator concluded there was not!
            Who are you to claim the opposite?

            Feel free to read all the tabloids and gossip columns you like. Feel free to form your own opinions about people involved in the sport.
            But don’t claim as a fact serious allegations which have not been proven.
            You might feel safe behind your keyboard, but in the real world you wouldn’t last long with that behaviour.

          2. I agree but abuse of power is our opinion. Not the opinion of the lawyers. We can speculate all day as to whether they are corrupt, have an agenda etc but the truth of the matter is that we’re not entitled to a full explanation.

            We don’t know if he will be disciplined, told off at board level or by Ford. But they did have to release a statement, primarily to stop the speculation and limit some of the comments that have been flying around this site in the past couple of days.

          3. @Facts&Stats
            I’m not reading the tabloid stuff. Or the alleged messages. Very deliberately. I’m going by what’s been published by the non-tabloid sports media, including here.

          4. @david-br,
            I haven’t read any serious journalist claiming there was ‘abuse of power’.
            And even the less serious ones mostly limited it to insinuations.

            Yet you claim it as a fact!

            there was an abuse of power

          5. @Facts&Stats

            Yet you claim it as a fact!

            I didn’t actually, I was quoting @rbalonso who only said ‘probably’

        2. Isn’t the whole schtick of a lawyers is that they’ll argue until blue in the face whichever way best suits their client – Red Bull Gmbh paying the bill? Weeks and weeks for the investigation, 600 pages and 60 hrs of Horner testimony – that’s pretty blue.
          Effectively what they’ve turned up with is a height for the act of coercion by a principal and expert measurement of Horner’s action being lower than that.
          The venue for the argument is the Court of Public Opinion for a company that sells flavoured liquids and distinguishes itself by a broadcast sport that relies on ads, bums on seats and goodwill transactions.
          They should have paid her off – like Tyrian said, whatever +.

          1. Why would they pay her off?

            I can’t understand the logic that someone is investigated and the defendant pays out knowing they haven’t done anything wrong. When the investigation agrees with them, why would they pay out?

          2. “No such thing as bad publicity” hasn’t generally worked in this arena.

    3. If Zak Brown had an affair, meeting a sponsor through a work event, would we be calling for his resignation?

      Are people calling for Horner’s resignation? It seems more of a ‘wow, what’s going on, will he be dropped?!’ kind of interest.

      Either way, I doubt anyone really cares what Horner gets up to as such. It will make them form an opinion of the man, for sure, but other than that it’s not any of our business. Especially since his previous antics are so well known, and short of something downright criminal, it’s hard to imagine him being able to ‘top’ that.

      So the impact on the two Red Bull F1 teams he leads is more interesting.

      1. Yeah there’s a number of users of this forum who are calling for it in a vein hope that negative press on here will get Horner the sack and level the playing field. It feels a a bit tribal to me – I don’t like Horner but I accept the findings or the investigation.

        1. @RBAlonso If Zak Brown had an affair, meeting a sponsor through a work event, would we be calling for his resignation?

          To relate that question to what I’ve argued elsewhere in this thread about why the tabloids have gone into a frenzy over the Horner story, Zak Brown is not married to a celebrity (as far as I’m aware). He’s certainly not married to Geri Halliwell, anyway, whose celeb factor remains high despite it being some years since her biggest pop hits.
          That’s not to say one way or the other whether some individuals and specialist F1 sites would be calling for Zak Brown’s resignation in similar circumstances. But there would be no breathless Sun front pages about it to be shown in the Racefans round-up, that’s for sure. And despite some critical remarks on this thread about the Sun front page being shown here, this is a round-up of F1-related stories in the media, and whether we find the tabloid coverage distasteful or not, it would be absurd for Racefans not to give prominence to it in such a round-up.
          And whether or not the specialist motor sport media would prefer to say this isn’t a sporting matter, if the celebrity-obsessed tabloid media decides it is going to show enormous interest, fairly or otherwise, in allegations about a celebrity’s husband’s behaviour, that is going to become a big international story which detains the F1 paddock, whether its specialist media agrees it should be or not.

          1. Yeah that’s a fair point Tom. I’m just surprised at the traction this has generated in the comments sections in the past few weeks. I fully understand it’s a story, but one that can be put to bed from a professional angle for those who are interested in the racing side.

          2. Trying to reply to RBA’s reply to me, but there’s no reply button showing up under their post! (?)
            At least not on my screen anyway….
            So I’ll reply to myself and hope RBA sees it, just above.
            Just wanting to say that’s a fair point too, RBA.

  13. Regarding Christian, is it fair someone can make all these allegations, send out copies of alleged txts, to team principals and media, jeopardise his job, marriage and reputation and still not be named???
    He has been cleared
    Think we now forget it and move on.

    1. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
      1st March 2024, 12:25

      @jop452 cleared by who? no one knows what happened really. if someone is sending out something I doubt it’s Magic the Gathering cards, is it? How would they know that the team principals, media etc are fans of the game?

  14. I’m not sure why this Horner story has so much prevalence.

    Well, the thing is:

    I detest Horner – I think he’s arrogant and smarmy; someone who confuses ruthlessness and low integrity.

    You aren’t alone.

    But is it a sackable offence?

    I’m sure many people can think of examples where someone was ‘allowed to resign’ – I can.
    I’m also sure that there’s also a clause in the contract that covers bringing the organisation into disrepute. Which is why being allowed to resign is used, and why truth and gossip bump into each other along the corridors of power, as those that remain must also not bring the organisation into disrepute.

    1. I agree this is a challenging PR position for the company but I think ‘disrepute’ is excessive in this case. Red Bull did the right thing, and they cleared him.

      All manner of things can be disrepute. Button was fined by Benetton for speeding and they used that line. I don’t remember many calls for the Wolff’s to resign over possible collusion in the winter – something more detrimental to the F1 brand, and similarly damaging to the respective teams.

      Horner doesn’t seem to me to be a man who’d go quietly. He’d see resignation, particularly this season, as an affront. Red Bull don’t have grounds to sack him for this – discipline him certainly, but sacking appears out of the question. I suspect this story will have died away by the end of the Saudi GP when we’ve had some racing to discuss.

      1. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
        1st March 2024, 12:57

        @rbalonso why would they not settle? I agree that Horner is not the sort who would leave quietly.

        For Red Bull to dismiss the case if there’s any substance to it is probably the last thing they should have done.

        Could they have settled with the intention of stating they dismissed the case, and the complainant had the right to appeal and then followed that by leaking certain images and texts ALL to prove that they never settled?

        If they did that, that’s so advanced – only Mikhail Tal could have pulled a play like that in his young days and unfortunately he has left us. If they did do orchestrate this, then screw Red Bull, their lawyer is the real champion of F1.

        1. Why would they settle?

          A business doesn’t conduct an internal investigation to then pay out when there is no wrongdoing.

          1. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
            1st March 2024, 14:02

            @rbalonso I believe it was an external – independent is the word they used – investigation although I have called that into question because there’s no independent lawyer when someone is clearly footing the bill and there’s an agenda (there’s always an agenda).

            The definition of wrongdoing is very subjective. It may not be wrong in court but it may destroy Red Bull in the public eye especially now that Horner is technically no longer the main responsible party – Red Bull has now assumed responsibility for the complaint.

            This is no ordinary case as in say someone files a complaint against someone unknown at an unknown company. This is more of a public complaint than a private one.

            If they settled and this is just optics, then they have a PR or legal genius on their team…

          2. We either trust the judicial system or we don’t.

            I don’t think it’s fair to second guess this law firm’s integrity on the basis of who paid them. Red Bull paid them to solve a Red Bull matter with Red Bull employees. If they favour Horner, you’re accusing them of corruption.

            The definition of wrongdoing is entirely the lawyers remit based on Red Bull’s existing company policy. The lawyers can’t try them without proper legislation.

            It’s entirely a private complaint.

            If I were to accuse you of something terrible, you deny it, an external investigation agrees there is no case to answer – are you to then pay me a settlement?

          3. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
            1st March 2024, 16:09

            @rbalonso I though this was an investigation, not a court ruling. Sure they are probably bound by some privilege and some laws but I would not make the assumption that they were impartial especially when they are being paid by one party.

          4. What evidence do you have to the contrary?

            The party paying is conducting for an internal review. If Horner paid from his own pocket, or ran the law firm, it would be perceived as a conflict of interest.

            I don’t think it’s fair to infer foul play without supporting sources or anyone in the team or paddock taking the same position.

  15. Any bets on when Ford will pull the plug? Surely they’ll be leaving the chat any minute now. Very interesting that hornball hasn’t stated the screenshots are fake, just speculation. It’s going to be a very brutal day in the paddock.

  16. What is going on with the leaker? What is their end-game? Because right now, the privacy and anonymity of the harassed victim has been put at risk here.

    1. someone or something
      1st March 2024, 13:30

      What is going on with the leaker?

      Well, one thing we can deduce is that they don’t seem to care about the claimant (meant as a neutral term, because I don’t want to concern myself with questions of victimhood).
      The one thing they seem to care about is Horner’s reputation, or the damaging thereof. The claimant’s reputation is collateral damage in this leak, her cause appearing to be a mere means to an end for the leaker(s).

    2. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
      1st March 2024, 14:08

      If there are photos and texts and they are real, then the complainant’s identity may have been revealed to anyone receiving those photos and texts unless they modified them on purpose.

      If the contents are of a questionable nature, I suspect F1 and the FIA may not be as dismissive as the sport’s champions.

      Does F1 and the FIA have the right to ask Red Bull the specifics of what happened?

      If they disagree with the decision, could they potentially fine Red Bull for this or even give them a race ban(s) and or point deduction?

  17. I checked the folder and if everything is true, it means Christian Hornier is indeed a horny man.

  18. There was a Man named Horner
    Who found himself in a corner
    When all seemed ok
    There dawned another day
    And now Horner
    Is back in the corner

  19. Goodbye Ford.

    1. LOL, you think Ford got top where it is by being dictated to by tabloids?
      If you want to be taken seriously, you’d be better served to treat tabloids and gossip with the disdain they deserve.

      1. Yes, valid point, Dale. I don’t know the company that well and I guess an American (just guessing by your name) would have a lot more insight than me. But “if I want to be taken seriously”? That’s no way to talk to someone. It’s not a crime to post an opinion, even if you think it’s wildly wrong.

  20. Coco Pops Gate was underwhelming.

  21. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
    1st March 2024, 13:11

    For the investigator to dismiss it, the case would have to be completely in Horner’s favor otherwise the real culprit here will be Red Bull after this fair, exhaustive, long, independent investigation.

    By dismissing it, has the blame, if some is to be assigned, now shifted from Horner to Red Bull? Also since F1 and Red Bull are inextricably linked will F1 be partially to blame?

    Anyway we’ll see how this plays out.

  22. All these ‘leaks’ confirm is that there is a bigger background agenda at play.
    Any further investigations need to be focused towards who exactly is behind this background agenda, & what their endgame is.

    Personally, I see Toto’s messy fingerprints all over this …

    1. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
      1st March 2024, 14:13

      That’s crazy – that’s worse than Crashgate and Spygate.

      If anything, the accusations appear to suggest that it was Horner’s messy fingerprints that were all over something.

    2. Not a fan of Occam’s razor I see.

    3. Personally, I see Toto’s messy fingerprints all over this …

      If you’re having visions like that, I would recommend not eating any more of those mushrooms.
      This one looks like a hole that Horner dug himself

  23. Who would have the texts? The accuser, Horner, the private firm investigating, and possibly RBR management. Only the last would have the potential interest and low risk of potential consequences to leak, at least until all remedies had run out for the accuser.

    1. @dmw Also, why make an internal investigation public knowledge in the first place?

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