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Toto Wolff is requesting for openness in the investigation of Red Bull's Christian Horner.
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Toto Wolff is requesting for openness in the investigation of Red Bull’s Christian Horner.

Toto Wolff has urged for a transparent investigation of Christian Horner regarding accusations of inappropriate conduct towards a female coworker. He also emphasized the responsibility of top leaders in Formula One to set a positive example.

Mercedes’ team principal, Wolff, is the first prominent figure in F1 to speak about the accusations against his Red Bull counterpart, which were made public on February 5th.

At a media briefing in Bahrain during the initial day of pre-season testing, Wolff was the sole team leader among five present who was open to discussing the investigation. He urged for it to be publicly addressed as a matter that is significant for the entire sport.

Wolff, known for his competitive relationship with Horner, commented on the recent rumors and events that have been occurring in the past few weeks between their teams as they compete for the drivers’ and constructors’ championships.

The most crucial aspect is maintaining a rigorous process. I believe that Red Bull’s decision to conduct an unbiased investigation is worth considering, as long as it is carried out with transparency.

F1 and its teams are committed to promoting inclusion, equality, fairness, and diversity. We don’t just talk about these values, we live them every day. These principles guide our actions and we hold ourselves to high standards. As a global sport and a significant influence in the world, we recognize our responsibility as role models. This is not just a concern for individual teams, but for all of F1.

Red Bull GmbH, the parent company of Red Bull Racing, initiated an inquiry into Horner following a complaint filed by an undisclosed individual. The complaint alleges that Horner exhibited “controlling” behavior.

Horner has consistently refuted the accusations and asserted that he will vigorously defend his stance. During the unveiling of the new RB20 vehicle last week, the 50-year-old was adamant in declaring his innocence and expressing his determination to remain at the helm. “I am fully dedicated to this team, I have been here since the start, and I have helped build it,” he stated.

He is currently not suspended and is in Bahrain leading his team during this week’s testing.

Red Bull’s team principal Christian Horner crosses the pit lane during the first day of the pre-season testing at the Bahrain International Circuit on WednesdayView image in fullscreen

The independent investigation by Red Bull is happening privately, and the identity of the leading barrister and specifics of the complaint and inquiry are not known to the public. Team principal Horner was questioned for over eight hours by the barrister, but no additional updates have been provided and there is no set timeline for when the investigation will be finished. It is expected that it may continue after the first race of the season on March 2nd in Bahrain.

F1 and the FIA have both released statements this week urging for the dispute to be settled, but have chosen not to provide any additional remarks.

In 2024, when the new cars made their debut on the track, the initial session had a recognizable yet foreboding atmosphere as Red Bull’s Max Verstappen dominated. After securing his third world championship in the previous year, Verstappen began the season with the same speed that he ended with in 2023.

The 2023 Red Bull underwent major changes and performed exceptionally well right from the start. Driver Max Verstappen completed 66 laps in the first session, leading Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc by seven-tenths of a second, followed by Fernando Alonso of Aston Martin who was eight-tenths behind.

During the second session, Verstappen once again showed his speed and consistency. He completed 142 laps for the day and was the fastest, beating out McLaren’s Lando Norris by over a second and Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz in third place.

This season, Mercedes has introduced a completely new car design. After facing difficulties for two years, George Russell finished 12th in the fastest time. On Thursday, his teammate Lewis Hamilton, who will be leaving Mercedes to join Ferrari next year, is anticipated to take the wheel.

Source: theguardian.com