Christian Horner, Red Bull, Albert Park, 2024

“More transparency” needed over Horner situation at Red Bull – Vettel

Formula 1

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Sebastian Vettel wants his former team Red Bull to handle the ongoing controversy regarding Christian Horner with “more transparency”.

An investigation arranged by Red Bull Austria last month dismissed allegations of inappropriate behaviour by team principal Horner towards a member of staff. However, following a purported leak of material related to the investigation, the staff member has appealed against the decision and indicated she is prepared to take the matter to an employment tribunal.

Vettel, who won four world championships at Horner’s team before leaving them at the end of 2014, said the secrecy surrounding the matter has taken attention away from the champions’ performance on-track.

“Obviously, there’s been a lot of talk since the beginning of the year,” he told Sky. “I think with these things, it’s always difficult to know everything. It would be nice if there was simply more transparency so that you really could have more of an opinion.

Sebastian Vettel, Porsche, Motorland Aragon, 2024
Vettel tested for Porsche last week
“It’s always difficult if you read one thing, then another thing and then the opposite. Now, things are going round in circles. The shame is that obviously Max [Verstappen] is doing a great job. The team, a lot of individuals that I remember from my time there, are doing a great job in the background and that’s sort of forgotten when the subject hovers around something else.”

Vettel retired from F1 at the end of 2022. He said the representation of women within the series is improving but more progress is needed.

“F1 is changing but it’s an old-fashioned business in many ways,” he said. “First of all, there weren’t many [women], but the numbers were going up.

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“[From] when I started [to] when I left, there was a lot more women in the paddock and a lot more women not just following the sport but also working in the sport. So I think there’s a positive change. But I think, really like everywhere else, there’s still room for improvement.”

The four-times world champion tested for the Porsche Penske World Endurance Championship team last week amid speculation he will join their third car to compete in the Le Mans 24 Hours this year.

“I was curious,” he said, “I wanted to see how it feels. It’s obviously a different discipline. It’s still racing, but it’s different cars, different disciplines.

“But [there’s] lots of things that excite me, lots of different things, not necessarily just looking at something behind the wheel, but also outside the car.”

Asked whether the test tempted him to return to racing, Vettel said: “I am, and I’m not. I’m obviously also looking for lots of other things and there’s lots of other things that do interest me outside racing.”

He gave little indication he is seriously considering a return to F1, though admitted he had conversations with Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff, who is looking to hire a replacement for Lewis Hamilton at his team next year.

“I’m speaking to Toto, I don’t know if that qualifies as Mercedes, but about other things,” said Vettel. “There’s ideas that I have, events that I’m planning going forward. So I did speak to a lot of other team principals as well, and not only about racing.”

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48 comments on ““More transparency” needed over Horner situation at Red Bull – Vettel”

  1. More transparency needed on Vettel failures at Ferrari.

    1. “It would be nice if there was simply more transparency so that you really could have more of an opinion.”

      You know that he isn’t taking the Wolff/Brown stance of “more transparency” for the good of the sport, etc. view, but just because it would just be interesting to know. He’s not calling for it because he thinks the sport needs it, or it’s the ‘right’ thing to do.

      1. I doubt it’s because Seb wants the dirt. Besides, I bet he maintains the connections that he already knows or could know most of it if he wanted to. As for Wolff/Brown, I doubt they’re making those statements for the good of the sport and more rather they want to destabilize a rival that is humiliating them.

        No, the majority of these “transparency” quotes are just individuals making sure they provide PC sound bites so they appear to be on the right side of history. How many of them are actually keenly interested in the Horner case? I bet very few that don’t have direct skin in the game.

        1. There’s more of a story here about those asking the questions (Sky) and misrepresenting the exchange then what Vettel said.

    2. Like winning 14 races to Räikkönen’s 1? And bring the only driver to give Mercedes a run for their money?

      Vettel was the only non-Mercedes driver to do anything of note between 2014 and 2020.

      1. There’s no way that’s true without mentioning ricciardo in 2014: 2014 ricciardo was just as impressive as 2015 vettel.

        Also just cause raikkonen wasn’t a strong driver any more his last stint at ferrari, it doesn’t mean vettel maximised the potential, it’s well known he wasted a lot of points in 2018.

        For example that year haas had schumacher and mazepin, just because schumacher outperformed mazepin doesn’t mean he drove well, and same goes for vettel, especially so in 2018, when an alonso or a schumacher would’ve won the title.

        1. Schumacher, maybe. Alonso couldn’t win the title in 2007 and 2010.

    3. What transparency do you need? He saw an opponent. He got spooked. He spun.

      1. i’ve always thought it was actually his inability to rotate the car through the stadium section in germany that ended his run that one year

        1. Not really. Vettel won the Belgian GP soon after. But Ferrari then had to take ‘months’ (their quote) of supposed updates off the car in Texas because rather than allowing them to keep pace with Mercedes, these ‘updates’ had made the car worse and worse. So by that point, Mercedes was comprehensively the better car. Worse, a recalcitrant Räikkönen refused to play the team game in Italy, and due to dropping back, Ferrari also frequently had to contend with a rambunctious Verstappen.

        2. Vettel himself read the omen: when he crashed his Ferrari into a wall in downtown Milano in the middle of a Ferrari exhibition event. I think he knew then there would be no accolades for him at the scuderia. And so it proved.

  2. The transparency calls are confusing. At the end of the day they believed him, and not her. It doesn’t really get more transparent than that.

    Mixed feelings about the idea of Vettel coming back. I want him around because politically he’s a loose cannon, he calls it how he sees it and I’d be surprised if he didn’t push the limit of all the gagging F1 are doing. But really, I’d really enjoy seeing some fresh faces that earn their seats on merit, rather than known quantities.

    1. But many obviously don’t believe in the process was unbiased. Personally, I don’t care and from the outside it seems like there’s nothing there besides a guy cheating on his wife. And if it weren’t for a huge internal battle for control, we’d have never learned this happen.

      1. who cares what other people think, its no one else’s business except an attention grabber, a team boss, the company they work for and perhaps a civil court, for which this case appears unfit.

        This culture of caring about what other people think needs to be killed, with haste. its cancer, and ultimately a self destructive path. Until then, people will feel free to read minds, believe any lie told to them and be used as political tools.

        1. People fed up with seeing people in a position of power, abusing that power and getting away with it. Thanks to the Me Too movement a light has been shone on those people in power and no longer can they get away with the things they’ve got away with in the past.

          Obviously I know no more about this specific situation than anyone else here, but the way it’s been handled can only be described as a cover up, i.e. the opposite of transparent.

          You could say it’s nobody else’s business, but unfortunately for people in the public eye, rightly or wrongly, they are subject to more intense scrutiny. If they’re not comfortable with their lives being put under that scrutiny they have two choices, either don’t do anything that you wouldn’t want the rest of the world to know about, or don’t put yourself in a position to be in the public eye.

          My personal view is that people in the public eye should be held to a high standard. The eye’s of the world are on them, including children aspiring to their way of life.

          1. Nicholas Allen
            4th April 2024, 4:26

            Finally a sensible comment from someone who gets what this issue is all about. It’s not about Horner cheating on his wife, even if he did. It’s about a MAN in a position of power, abusing that position in his overtures to a WOMAN. And it’s about the woman being at a significant disadvantage in dealing with those advances, precisely because of the position of power that the man is in. That’s precisely what the MeToo movement is all about, and it’s precisely why the full truth needs to come out, because the power to cover it up rests precisely with the accused and his friends.

          2. @gdog Indeed, and as I noted before, it seems F1 is even more insular than I thought, and it seems that nobody in its bubble has taken much notice of the dozens and dozens of MeToo-incidents. They seemingly think they can play this off like it’s the 1990s.

          3. There are relationships in the work place that are not abuses of power. So, unless we want to make it illegal, we can’t assume every workplace relationship is a Weinstein scenario. Hornier has no track record, which would indicate such.

        2. I agree, PX. It doesn’t matter what people think. I was just answering his question about some of the transparency calls. Some are just other teams hoping a crisis can help makeup for their own failures.

    2. At the end of the day they believed him, and not her.

      That’s not what the statement said. Red Bull dismissed the complaint. It made no claims about what had happened.

      One can infer certain things from that. Such as that it’s highly unlikely that something illegal happened. But that’s about it.

      1. That’s not what the statement said. Red Bull dismissed the complaint. It made no claims about what had happened.

        Exactly Michael. Most people seem to get defocussed and end up following the slant pushed by Horner.

  3. the secrecy surrounding the matter has taken attention away from the champions’ performance on-track

    I feel it is rather ‘people feeling entitled to know more, the media milking it to achieve higher viewers numbers/clicks and competitors using it in a desire to destabilise a competitor’ that has taken attention away. The matter is closed, people now are just experiencing difficulty letting go of the soap that fed their addiction.

  4. Will Vettel demonstrate courage by addressing the ongoing genocide in Gaza and speaking out against the atrocities rather than repeating the same stuff over and over again. He was vocal about human rights issues in the Middle East and swift to condemn Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Consistency is key.

    1. Virtue signalling achieves nothing

    2. Let keep Hamas out of this site. It’s already bad enough the people suffers because they wanted to attack Israel. If they just did a normal attack instead of slaughtering what they did Gaza wouldn’t be leveled as Israel want to wipe Hamas.

      1. @ (@tifoso1989)

  5. The Dolphins
    3rd April 2024, 13:13

    Would be great to have more transference about his Ferrari engine’s mysterious power gains which resulted in a sealed deal with the FIA.

    Also interesting to note the close relationship between Vettel and Marko.

    1. He probably agrees. There are various statements from Vettel in 2019 that, seen in a new light after the engine settlement, make one wonder what was going on inside that team. Plus the fact that his contract was not renewed at the end of 2019, and he then had a mysteriously poor 2020 season that makes Hamilton’s current struggle seem like a strong return to form.

      There was definitely something dodgy going on, but Vettel is not the villain of this story.

  6. The Guardian is reporting that if the complainant’s appeal is turned down, she will (a close friend says) take the issue to an employment tribunal. More here. As from the start when Red Bull made the strange decision to publicize an internal disciplinary process, there are three agents involved here: Horner, the complainant and whoever has been trying to use the complaint for third-party motives. But the latter is separate from the merit (or otherwise) of the original complaint. Was Red Bull’s ‘internal’ review unbiased? Given that the issue seems to be (or have been) the munition in an internal power struggle of major proportions, it’s questionable whatever the qualities of the independent lawyer called in. It looks like it needs to be reviewed externally.

    1. A problem like this requires a napoleonic solution. Horner could fire Max and Marko and Jos. A good driver, eg Sainz, will do well in that car. Not quite as well as Max, but near enough.
      Somehow, I doubt that Horner can bring himself to do it.

  7. Besides the sensationalism, do we really need to have an opinion outselves? I mean, it’s none of our business in the end. So for me, I don’t see why I should ask for more transparency so I can judge the situation better… I’m not the one involved in this.

    I’m not trying to defend Horner in this, but I think the more we know it, the less protected the victim will also be.

  8. Horner probably already called him with the same tone and phrase used back in Malaysia 2013 : “c’mon Seb, don’t be that guy….this is childish”.

  9. Looks like Sebs accountants have said he needs to generate some cash before the next tax year then.

    I’m sure we all look forwards to his articles about Women, Racism and how F1 was better when he was in it.

  10. It feels like ‘transparency’ is becoming a word that everyone uses and no one really thinks about or has any idea what they even mean by it. Too often it’s used as a weapon to imply that you’re somehow entitled to someone else’s private business. Unless this Christian Horner affair is set before an actual court, then no… they don’t have to tell us jack, nor should they. You can come up with all ‘this reflects poorly on [insert whomever you went here],’ but it doesn’t. People aren’t going to lower their opinion of, nor stop watching, F1 or Red Bull because of this. It’s just an obsessive mass of people who are throwing a tantrum because someone isn’t telling them what they want to know. Deal with it. The world doesn’t owe you an explanation.

  11. Headline: “More transparency” needed

    Actual quote: It would be nice if there was simply more transparency so that you really could have more of an opinion.


    1. Constantijn Blondel
      3rd April 2024, 17:46

      Yeah, that’s what I though, too.

  12. I really want to like this guy.

  13. I think every would like the truth however if if SEB is thinking to return forget it, him and Riciardo.should quit go and leave to the young ones

  14. Let’s have some glasnost at Sky. Perestroika, too.

  15. In business, you only say what you need to say. Anything more will never satisfy those wanting.

    Never apologise, never explain – you’ll never satisfy those that choose to despise you.

  16. I.Could.Not.Care.Less

    1. @34rthl1ng
      It’s about Formula 1 teams being a safe workplace for everyone.
      Given the complainant is reportedly feeling intimidated, silenced and scared, then there is a serious question about whether Red Bull addressed the issue adequately. It seems fairly clear that she and her lawyers are going through the appeals procedure ready to take this to another tribunal, so I doubt they will be any simple ‘move-on’ as you put it.

      1. Well, it’s pretty easy in this case. If you don’t want to get into trouble, you don’t get into an affair with a married boss.

        Given the complainant is reportedly feeling intimidated, silenced and scared

        Yes, of course you believe the rumors and whatever this person possibly claims without proof.

        1. So it’s the woman’s fault? Classic bit of misogyny there Ludewig.
          I didn’t say I believed any version. I said I doubt that the complaint was properly evaluated given the context of an internal power struggle: hence the need for external evaluation. Following a simple enough argument is clearly beyond your limited capacities.

      2. @david-br that is the reason we should ignore anything from the case untill a court has spoken against or for the complainant. Now i thought it was in the hands of the King council but here comes it even that isn’t clear.

        So react on nothing untill it’s official.

        1. @macleod There are two points. One, the ‘case’ isn’t closed until the complainant decides so or has no more recourses to pursue. Just a matter of fact. Two, lots of people in Formula 1 (including within Red Bull), past and present, seem to think this is actually an issue that goes beyond Red Bull’s internal human resource management and affects the sport more widely. Vettel seems to be one. I’m not sure what I think to be honest. But I tend towards viewing Formula 1 as highly misogynistic in the past and am suspicious that some areas of the sport (including especially its management structure) remain so.

  17. Welcome to another exciting episode of “As the Formula 1 Turns.” Tonight’s episode is again about the power struggles in the Red Bull camp. Who will win the coveted prize of the Golden Loser Trophy?

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