Red Bull Formula One’s Christian Horner’s Text May Disrupt Winning Culture

“I respected the integrity of the independent investigation and fully cooperated with it every step of the way."

Brandon Charles - Author

Mar. 1 2024, Updated 4:17 p.m. ET

Christian Horner talking to his team.
Source: Getty

Round 1 of the 2024 Formula 1 Grand Prix season is underway at the Bahrain International Circuit in Sakhir. While most teams are focused on the race, one may be a bit distracted by the messages of one team boss.

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Christian Horner, team principal of the Red Bull Formula One team and former driver, was under investigation beginning Feb. 5, 2023 for allegations of inappropriate behavior. He was cleared a few weeks later.

Christian Horner celebrating after the F1 Grand Prix of Abu Dhabi at Yas Marina Circuit on November 26, 2023
Source: Getty
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The best team in Formula 1 may be in trouble before the first race of the season.

In a statement issued Feb. 28, 2023, Red Bull GmbH, the team’s parent company, said, "The independent investigation into the allegations made against Mr Horner is complete, and Red Bull can confirm that the grievance has been dismissed. The complainant has a right of appeal."

ESPN notes that Horner maintained his innocence throughout the investigation. Red Bull driver Max Verstappen, the 2021, 2022, and 2023 World Champion and current #1 ranked driver said, "Well I'm trusting the process, that's what's happening right now, that's the thing that I mentioned with it. When you talk about performance, it's of course very important that everyone sticks together."

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The allegations may have more weight now that they've leaked.

That comment by Verstappen was before the texts to a female employee, the source of the allegations, were finally leaked. On Feb. 29, 2023, a reporter at The Sun received a Google Drive link containing 79 files claiming to be the evidence from the independent investigation.

Some of the messages passed to The Sun involve Horner advising the female employee to stretch her legs open, asking for selfies, advising her to delete their WhatsApp messages and saying she looks "very attractive” in Spanx. Horner claims the leaks are anonymous speculation.

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Horner’s wife, former Spice Girl Geri Halliwell, flew into Bahrain to support her husband. The two have been married since 2015 and have one child together, a son born in 2017.

Geri Halliwell and Christian Horner at the 'Ferrari' premiere.
Source: Getty
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Horner’s response to the leaked messages following the investigation repeat what he’s been saying. “I won’t comment on anonymous speculation, but to reiterate, I have always denied the allegations.”

He continued, “I respected the integrity of the independent investigation and fully cooperated with it every step of the way. It was a thorough and fair investigation, conducted by an independent specialist barrister, and it has concluded dismissing the complaint made.”

Horner has been in charge of the team since its inception in 2005. The Red Bull team has won six constructors' championships and seven drivers' championships, three of which have come consecutively with current driver Max Verstappen.

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Source: YouTube

The popularity of F1 has skyrocketed in recent years.

Since the debut of Formula 1: Drive to Survive on Netflix in Mar. 2019, the international sport has seen massive growth. With the most successful team involved in a growing scandal, one involving a former Spice Girl and the current best driver in the sport, don’t be surprised if there are some more eyes on Formula 1 in 2024.

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