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Giles Richards explains that although Horner was cleared of any wrongdoing, Red Bull's lack of openness is not beneficial for F1.
F1 Sport

Giles Richards explains that although Horner was cleared of any wrongdoing, Red Bull’s lack of openness is not beneficial for F1.

Christian Horner has continuously maintained his innocence during Red Bull’s investigation into accusations of misconduct. On Wednesday, he was finally cleared of all charges. He is likely feeling justified while Red Bull GmbH, the company responsible for launching the investigation, is likely hoping the issue will be resolved and put to rest. However, they do not deserve such leniency.

The female employee’s accusation against Horner was not upheld after an extensive eight-week investigation. There has been much speculation surrounding the matter, but no details from the investigation have been made known, including the specific complaint, Horner’s response, the results of the inquiry, or the process used to reach those conclusions.

The company Red Bull GmbH, which released the statement, claimed from the beginning that it was a personal investigation. When it was completed, they announced that the gathered information was private and they would refrain from making additional comments out of consideration for everyone involved.

The stunning absence of transparency was justifiable during the duration, but now, with the complete report available and a conclusive decision made, to simply deem the matter closed is an unsatisfactory ending for everyone involved, except possibly Red Bull GmbH.

On Wednesday, prior to the announcement being made, Lewis Hamilton, being observant and understanding the broader impact as always, explained the significance beyond the decision itself.

“We must continuously strive to create a safe and inclusive atmosphere within the sport and for those who are involved,” he expressed.

The investigation must be resolved as it is currently affecting the sport. It will be intriguing to see the outcome and how it will impact the future of the sport. This is a critical moment for the sport to uphold its values.

Toto Wolff, the team principal of Hamilton’s Mercedes, had urged Red Bull to be open and honest in their investigation, as it affected the entire Formula 1 community. In a critical move, Jim Farley, the CEO of Ford who will be partnering with Red Bull in 2026, wrote to the team expressing disappointment in the lack of transparency with their corporate partners. He requested a thorough report of all their findings.

It is uncertain if Farley has been given access to the entire account, or if he has also been refused. If he has been denied, he will likely seek explanations. If he is provided with answers, then there is no reason why the general public should not also have them.

Max Verstappen in F1 testing at the Bahrain International Circuit last week

Without any disclosed information, it is currently impossible to form an opinion on the situation. This has caused concern among high-ranking individuals in the sport, who have observed that it is difficult to provide a response or proclaim this to be a satisfactory resolution without any knowledge of the circumstances or the reasoning behind the outcomes.

The official explanation for the complaint has not been disclosed yet. This crucial information would put an end to the sensational rumors surrounding F1.

This situation does not bode well for the sport that has been under scrutiny for several weeks. However, Red Bull has expressed satisfaction that the issue has been resolved and has asked for the matter to be dropped.

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However, there are still many inconsistencies and uncertainties. It was unusual for Red Bull GmbH to publicly announce their investigation, as their typical approach in such situations is to remain silent. They had the option to conduct the investigation privately, but they opted not to and have now reverted back to their usual closed-door approach.

The agenda in question is intriguing and could potentially support the theory proposed by Horner’s followers that the proceedings were manipulated by specific parties at Red Bull in Austria as a means of causing turmoil or potentially removing Horner from his position.

If this were truly the situation, it was an awkward and poorly planned event, a rudimentary tool that quickly became difficult and humiliating. If this were true, the absence of transparency could just be another attempt to confuse the issue. Without any information, making a judgment is nearly impossible.

During the Red Bull car launch two weeks ago, Horner adamantly stated that he had not committed any wrongdoing. However, he appeared fatigued as he reiterated his denial and explained that he could not provide any further information due to the ongoing process.

Max Verstappen, the world champion for Red Bull, expressed his confidence in the process on Wednesday before the announcement. The process has since been finalized, but it is concerning that there is limited information available. This surely raises concerns for Horner, Red Bull, and Verstappen.

If Red Bull, and additionally Formula One, truly plan on upholding their values as Hamilton rightfully suggested, this current conclusion falls greatly inadequate.

Source: theguardian.com