Christian Horner says it's 'time to draw a line' after accuser is suspended from Red Bull following misconduct probe

7 March 2024, 16:04 | Updated: 7 March 2024, 16:15

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner arrives at the circuit for the first practice session ahead of the Formula One Saudi Arabian Grand Prix  today (L) and (R) pictured with Geri on Saturday
Red Bull team principal Christian Horner arrives at the circuit for the first practice session ahead of the Formula One Saudi Arabian Grand Prix today (L) and (R) pictured with Geri on Saturday. Picture: Alamy

By Danielle de Wolfe

Christian Horner has said he wants to "draw a line" under allegations of 'controlling behaviour' after it emerged the Red Bull employee accusing him of 'controlling behaviour' has been suspended.

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Speaking at a news conference in Saudi Arabia, the Red Bull chief said: "There's been a lot of coverage surrounding this. One has to go back to the basis.

"A grievance was raised, fully investigated and it was dismissed. We move onwards," he added.

It follows the news that the female employee at the centre of the scandal has now been suspended - allegedly on full pay - according to PA, in the latest twist in the ongoing story.

Horner was spotted without wife Geri ahead of the press conference today in Jeddah, prior to Saturday's Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.

Speaking to journalists at the press conference, Horner added: "It has been of great interest in different elements of the media for different reasons.

"I think it's time to draw a line under it. And to focus on what is going on on track."

Since an internal investigation completed its report, Red Bull have remained tight-lipped, stating: "The company cannot comment on this internal matter."
Since an internal investigation completed its report, Red Bull have remained tight-lipped, stating: "The company cannot comment on this internal matter.". Picture: Alamy

The chief was cleared last week over alleged 'inappropriate behaviour' towards a female colleague following an internal investigation overseen by an independent barrister.

It is believed the complainant had five days to appeal the findings, with the deadline for the appeal being Wednesday, March 6.

Red Bull have remained tight-lipped following the publication of a 19-page report that names the accuser, stating: "The company cannot comment on this internal matter."

It remains unclear why the female employee was suspended.

The 50-year-old Red Bull team principal's future remains in the balance as he put on a unified front with wife and former Spice Girl Gerri Halliwell in the paddock at Saturday's Bahrain Grand Prix.

Read more: Christian Horner breaks silence after 'texts leaked', as Red Bull F1 boss cleared of inappropriate behaviour claims

Read more: Geri Halliwell's husband Christian Horner breaks silence over 'inappropriate behaviour' allegations

When asked about the ongoing matter, Horner said: "This is confidential. I am not at liberty [to talk about it].

"We are all bound by the same restrictions. Even if I'd like to talk about it, I can't. This has been trying in many respects."

Ralf Schumacher was spotted speaking to Jos Verstappen, father of Max Verstappen.
Ralf Schumacher was spotted speaking to Jos Verstappen, father of Max Verstappen. Picture: Alamy

It follows a 'bombshell' report into accusations of controlling and coercive behaviour by Horner in relation to a female Red Bull employee, with a fresh slurry of allegations surfacing following the publication of a 19-page investigation that named his accuser.

Christian Horner's future at Red Bull is looking increasingly uncertain, with former Formula 1 driver Ralf Schumacher the latest pundit to weigh in on the subject.

"If Christian Horner holds on to his seat with all his might," Schumacher told Austrian news outlet Kronen Zeitung.

"He will not only damage Red Bull, he will also ensure that Max Verstappen leaves the team."

‘If Christian Horner stays at Red Bull, Max Verstappen leaves,’ Schumacher told German media following a string of allegations that have marred the World Championship-winning racing team.

The situation has led to tension between the Red Bull boss and the team's star driver Max Verstappen.

‘If Christian Horner stays at Red Bull, Max Verstappen leaves,’ says Ralf Schumacher
‘If Christian Horner stays at Red Bull, Max Verstappen leaves,’ says Ralf Schumacher. Picture: Alamy

Horner was photographed arguing with Jos Verstappen days after a file allegedly containing Horner's photos and WhatsApp messages was leaked to the media from an anonymous email account.

Now, Ralf Schumacher, brother of the seven-time World Champion Michael Schumacher, has weighed in on the matter.

The driver was pictured speaking with Jos while working for German television at the Bahrain International Circuit, in Sakhir, on Saturday.

"In my opinion, they are already in negotiations," Schumacher said.

"That's plan B if all this fails. The person after Verstappen is Adrian Newey.

"He is also a person who benefits from good peace within the team. He will not do this to himself for the long term," the former F1 driver added.

The youngest Schumacher raced for a host of teams including McLaren and Williams over the course of his decade-long F1 career.

It comes as Max Verstappen spoke out to defend his father, highlighting he was "not a liar" in the wake of claims that the controversy surrounding the RB boss was "driving people apart".

It follows comments from Jos Verstappen last weekend that the situation was "not good for the team".

‘If Christian Horner stays at Red Bull, Max Verstappen leaves,’ Ralf Schumacher reportedly said following a string of allegations that have marred the World Championship-winning racing team.
‘If Christian Horner stays at Red Bull, Max Verstappen leaves,’ Ralf Schumacher reportedly said following a string of allegations that have marred the World Championship-winning racing team. Picture: Alamy

The driver told Sky Germany: "The danger is that some parties now want to leave and look for other options. New teams, new targets. Horner has to draw his conclusions from this.

"When you see how everyone is against him, his position is no longer tenable. He should resign in the interest of the team," the German added.

"In my opinion, they are already in negotiations."

Following the incident, Mr Horner said that he would not comment on "anonymous speculation", although he did not deny that the texts were authentic.

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