Formula 1

Christian Horner to leave Red Bull? Details of allegations and hearing

Published: 12, Feb 2024

Christian Horner could be removed from his role as director and CEO of the Red Bull Racing team if allegations of "inappropriate behaviour", which he denies, are confirmed at an internal hearing. Here's everything you need to know.

Christian Horner's immediate future at Red Bull was called into question last week after allegations of "behavior inappropriate" which were rejected.

The 50-year-old team director will appear at an internal hearing in London on Friday 9 February, where he will be questioned by an independent judge. Lawyer that he represents Red Bull Racing's parent company, Red Bull GmbH, these allegations would be taken "very seriously". If they continue, they could lead to Horner's removal from the team.

This is the result of unrest within the Red Bull organization following the death of co- founder Dietrich Mateschitz. Relations between Horner and other senior Red Bull employees are strained; Helmut Marko, the typical Red Bull spokesperson who has worked closely with the team since 2005, has until now remained silent on the matter: the consequences of the accident could be far-reaching, and go beyond the team leader. The future of the team's superstar designer, Adrian Newey, would also be uncertain if Horner leaves. The two men have worked together during the team's two successful spells in the championship and the departure of one would likely prompt the other to consider his future, although some reports suggest the former March, Williams and McLaren employee is mulling about his future at Red Bull already decided. 

Christian Horner faces hearing on Friday over alleged 'inappropriate  behaviour'

What is Christian Horner accused of?

Red Bull has not yet confirmed the exact charges against its team principal, but they have not Anti-motorsport arguments from various sources. Sources say the charges involve allegations of "inappropriate and controlling behavior."

The identity of the complainant has not been confirmed. , but he is believed to be an employee of the team. Red Bull then decided to investigate the matter and outsource the investigation to an outside lawyer.

Since then, Horner has completely denied the allegations. They were first published on February 5, 2024, following the publication of an article in the Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf. He then took the same defensive stance at an F1 Commission meeting in London earlier this week, attended by team bosses, members of the governing body, the FIA ​​and commercial rights holders.

What is behavior control?

According to the official legal framework of the Ministry of the Interior, behavior control, control or coercion is a “deliberate pattern of behavior” in which offenders “use various means to harm, humiliate, intimidate, or exploit.” "., isolate and dominate their victims."

This behavior includes many different types of behavior, including: physical and sexual violence/abuse, violent behavior, emotional or psychological abuse, controlling behavior, restrictive behavior, and threatening behavior.

Will Christian Horner be fired?

Some experts have suggested that Horner will not survive the charges against him, despite his denials, and that he would be fired as director of Red Team Bull. in the 2024 election campaign. Others, however, believe that he can remain in power, perhaps with less influence.

Ultimately, everything will depend on the seriousness of the accusations. and the verdict of the investigation.

Horner has led the team since its inception in Formula 1 and wields considerable power on the Milton Keynes scene and has enjoyed a incredible success as a leader. The team has won 13 F1 world championships in the last 19 seasons. However, following the death of Mateschitz, who had a close working relationship with Horner, tensions have been reported between the team leader and the new management, suggesting that Horner has fewer allies at the top of the team organization than before.

According to reports from Germany and Austria, there is pressure from senior Red Bull executives for Horner to step down voluntarily. But by taking part in the investigation, Horner has signaled his intention to fight the allegations and has continued to work at the team's office in Milton Keynes since they emerged.

When will the hearing take place?

Horner's internal hearing will take place on Friday 9 February in London, possibly at Red Bull . UK Headquarters in Covent Garden.

As this is an internal hearing, no specific time has been set and no announcements are expected today .

When will the decision be announced?

Although it was initially expected, the El Horner's fate could be decided next week. The Race's sources have confirmed that the deal is unlikely to be concluded before the launch of the Red Bull F1 team on February 15 and could even be delayed beyond the first race of the season. to Bahrain within three weeks.

This delay in the trial by the "external expert lawyer" could be due to the evaluation of all the evidence presented to them during the trial . the trial was a court hearing. Friday and will gather additional information from affected witnesses in the coming weeks. Their final report will be presented to the Red Bull Board of Management in Austria, who will then make an informed decision.

What has changed at Red Bull?

The news of the accusations against Horner apparently shocked the team. Shortly after the allegations were revealed, the company released a statement informing the public that an internal investigation was underway, but has since referred all communications on the matter to the company's headquarters in Austria.

Although personal friendships with Adrian Newey, Helmut Marko and Jos Verstappen (Max's father) are under pressure, Horner has long been rumored to be in a difficult situation. situation. Red Bull - Since the death of Red Bull founder Mateschitz in 2022 a vast "power struggle" has been underway.

Rather than a single figure At the forefront , the The company is currently led by board members such as Franz Control Watzlawick (CEO), Alexander Kirchmayr (CFO) and Oliver Mintzlaff. It is rumored that the latter, head of Red Bull's projects and investments department, is Horner's biggest adversary.

"Mintzlaff wants Horner to disappear" , he told the Red Bull observer. he told the Daily Mail. “Especially because it has become too big and too expensive for his tastes. But the Thais on the board [made up of Chalerm Yoovidhya and Mark Mateschitz, sons of Red Bull co-founders Chaleo and Dietrich] aren't so sure. 

Helmut Marko has also been identified as a possible opponent to Horner's current position and may seek "revenge" after negotiations over his latest contract with Red Bull they got worse. “Marko's contract was extended last year,” read F1 information cited by the newspaper. “But he saw his money cut in half. It seems like he wants to get revenge on Horner and let him go."

It is certainly strange that such a situation occurs after Red Bull's record. Nice run in 2023, where the team won 21 rounds out of a possible 22 and won both world titles for the second year in a row. Will things continue without Horner at the helm? Or will his tarnished reputation, even if he stays, hurt the team?

Who would replace Christian Horner?

If Horner were fired? Given his position as Red Bull's team principal, the team could "We have several options for a possible replacement. Current sporting director Jonathan Wheatley was seen as an obvious choice given his long history with the team and his good relationships with drivers, mechanics and other team members. Wheatley is also a respected member of the paddock, having worked on the championship-winning Benetton and Renault teams before joining Milton Keynes in 2005.