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"After controversial email leaks, Christian Horner is once again at the center of controversy in the world of Formula 1."
F1 Sport

“After controversial email leaks, Christian Horner is once again at the center of controversy in the world of Formula 1.”

The opening of the new Formula One season was dramatically overshadowed on Thursday evening after a leaked email purporting to contain images of messages between Christian Horner and the female member of staff who made a complaint against him was sent to media, team members and senior personnel within F1 and the sport’s governing body the FIA.

Within a day of the inquiry’s decision clearing Red Bull team principal Horner of accusations of misconduct and dismissing the complaint, the racing world was once again consumed by rumors and theories as an anonymous email made its way around the paddock at the season’s opening race in Bahrain.

The email which was sent from two different email addresses three separate times to the recipients and contained 79 images on a Google drive link including what purports to be messages between Horner and the female employee whose complaint prompted Red Bull Racing’s parent company Red Bull GmbH to instigate an investigation several weeks ago.

Although Horner and Red Bull were eager to shift their attention back to racing during the second practice session in Bahrain, their focus was quickly redirected at 6:22pm local time.

Pictures were distributed to journalists, team leaders, and members of the FIA and F1 management worldwide. The subject line of the email read “Evidence for Christian Horner’s Investigation” and the message noted that the attached materials were relevant to Red Bull’s recent investigation and statements.

It is unclear who sent the emails and their reliability cannot be verified.

In response to the event, Horner strongly reiterated his rejection of the accusations of misconduct made against him. He also restated that an independent investigation conducted by an English lawyer found no evidence against him.

He declined to discuss unfounded rumors, but wanted to emphasize that he has consistently denied the accusations. He also respected the unbiased inquiry and willingly participated in it. The investigation was thorough and impartial, conducted by an outside specialist lawyer, and ultimately dismissed the complaint. He is now completely focused on the beginning of the season.

Red Bull GmbH announced the results of the investigation on Wednesday through a brief statement, stating that the complaint had been dismissed. However, they have chosen not to disclose any further information in order to maintain the confidentiality of those involved.

The investigation lasted for several weeks and resulted in a 600-page report. Horner has been closely monitored since the incident was made public on February 5th, and he has consistently denied any wrongdoing. The choice to withhold details has caused concern within the racing community, with Mercedes team leader Toto Wolff calling for transparency from the organization. Other prominent figures in Formula 1 also believe that, following such a widely publicized incident that has called the sport’s integrity into question, transparency is crucial to ensuring that the matter has been addressed appropriately.

Christian Horner talks on his phone in the paddock as practice gets under way in Bahrain.

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Prior to the leaked email being revealed, Wolff, who had strongly advocated for the investigation to be made available to the public as it reflected on the entire F1 community, stated that he was not convinced that closing the incident without any information or explanation was sufficient.

A woman within the organization raised a concern to HR, which was then looked into. The sport recently received a message stating that everything is resolved. The person speaking believes that as a global sport, there should be more transparency when it comes to important matters. They are curious about the sport’s stance on this.

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Zak Brown, principal of the McLaren team, agreed and stated that both F1 and the FIA should have access to the results of the investigation in order to come to their own conclusions and ensure the reputation of the sport is not compromised.

“The governing body has a duty and power to our sport and our supporters,” he stated. “They must ensure that there is complete transparency with them. The process must be comprehensive and transparent, and they must ultimately reach the same decision as Red Bull and agree with the outcome. Until then, speculation will persist as there are many questions that remain unanswered regarding the entire process.”

As the pressure mounts on Red Bull GmbH to disclose information, Wolff stressed the importance of F1 demonstrating its dedication to ethical conduct.

He stated that in the realm of sports, it is necessary for us to avoid ambiguity and lack of clarity on important issues like this, as it could have consequences for us.

Neither F1 nor the FIA have made any statements regarding the investigation or its procedures. It is believed that both parties have not been given access to any information from the inquiry.

Earlier today, Horner had stated his intention to move past the recent events and focus on managing his team again.

The parent company’s statement did not mention if Horner will continue as both team principal and CEO of Red Bull Racing, causing some speculation about his future with the team. He has not publicly spoken during his presence at the Bahrain race, where he was observing his team’s first practice session of the season. However, he was clear and definite when questioned about his plans for the future.

“It is a great pleasure to be present here. I have no plans to leave,” he stated. “It is a privilege to guide this team and I am thrilled to have the opportunity to defend our world titles.”

Source: theguardian.com