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Red Bull has given clearance for Horner to participate in the F1 race in Bahrain as their season opener.
F1 Sport

Red Bull has given clearance for Horner to participate in the F1 race in Bahrain as their season opener.

The head of the Red Bull team, Christian Horner, has been cleared of any misconduct by an impartial investigation regarding accusations of improper behavior made by a female employee.

Horner had repeatedly denied any wrongdoing and insisted he would robustly defend himself. On Wednesday Red Bull Racing’s parent company, Red Bull GmbH, issued a statement having assessed the findings of the investigation that entirely cleared the 50-year-old.

The investigation into the claims against Mr. Horner has been finished, and Red Bull confirms that the issue has been resolved. The individual who filed the complaint has the option to appeal. Red Bull is certain that the inquiry was conducted in a just, thorough, and unbiased manner.

“The investigation report is confidential and contains the private information of the parties and third parties who assisted in the investigation, and therefore we will not be commenting further out of respect for all concerned. Red Bull will continue striving to meet the highest workplace standards.”

Horner has not yet issued any statement, but it is anticipated that he will be present at the Bahrain International circuit on Thursday.

The decision means Horner, who has been at the helm of the team since its inception in 2005, will oversee operations in Bahrain as Red Bull prepare for the opening race of the season on Saturday after almost four weeks of uncertainty.

The company has not addressed whether Horner will continue in his current positions as team principal and chief executive of Red Bull Racing. However, as there is no case against him, it is likely that he will remain in his roles as he had stated was his intention during the ongoing inquiry.

During the unveiling of this year’s car two weeks ago, he expressed his unwavering dedication to the team, emphasizing that he has been a part of it from its inception and has played a key role in its growth.

We have experienced ups and downs, achieved 113 victories in races, and earned a total of seven drivers’ world championships and six constructors’ world championships over a span of 19 seasons. However, while this may be an impressive record, our gaze is now directed towards the future. My primary goal is to strive towards what lies ahead.

Both Red Bull Racing and its parent company have not disclosed any information regarding the accusations or the status of the investigation, leading to speculation and hearsay. Despite this, Horner has consistently maintained his innocence.

During the investigation, Horner remained in his position without suspension and oversaw the team’s daily operations in preparation for the upcoming season.

There were hints from Horner’s followers that he had experienced a power struggle at Red Bull. They described the handling of the situation as an attempt to restrict his authority, following the passing of his ally and comrade Dietrich Mateschitz, the previous owner of Red Bull who had appointed him to lead the team when it was founded.

According to reports, Chalerm Yoovidhya, son of the founder Chaleo and majority owner of 51% of the company, was in support of him.

Red Bull has stated that there is no set timeline for the investigation and it will continue until a conclusion is reached. However, there is growing pressure to resolve the issue. The owners of F1 have requested a prompt resolution as it reflects negatively on the sport. Additionally, Ford, who has plans for an engine partnership with Red Bull in 2026, has also voiced their dissatisfaction with the ongoing allegations.

Horner was understood to have been blindsided when Red Bull GmbH announced on 1 February that it was launching an investigation. The statement at the time said: “The company takes these matters extremely ­seriously and the investigation will be completed as soon as practically ­possible.”

The person who made the complaint has not been named, and no specific details about the complaint have been revealed. However, it has been reported that the complaint accused Horner of exhibiting “controlling” behavior.

During the release of the initial statement, Horner was present at an F1 commission meeting. He refuted any accusations to the meeting attendees and also reaffirmed his denial to the Dutch media outlet De Telegraaf. He stated, “I wholeheartedly reject these allegations,” as the inquiry into the matter persisted leading up to the start of the new season.

However, the status of the Red Bull leader’s future was uncertain during the inquiry. He vigorously defended himself during a meeting on February 9 in London, which was led by an English barrister. The meeting lasted for eight hours, but no decision was made at that time, as anticipated.

Red Bull Racing states that it would not be suitable to provide feedback until the investigation is concluded.

During the debut of the new car, Horner restated his innocence regarding any wrongdoing. He expressed confidence in the process and stated that he is fully cooperating. He firmly denies all accusations made against him.

After a thorough review of the investigation’s findings, the parent company has deemed that Horner is not at fault, and he will take center stage in Bahrain as Red Bull strives to maintain their winning streak in both the constructors’ and drivers’ divisions, having held the titles for the past two years.

Source: theguardian.com