What is the status of the investigation on Friday?
Christian Horner is set to have a discussion with a lawyer selected by Red Bull Racing’s parent company to conduct an external investigation, following accusations of controlling behavior that were brought to light this week. It is important to mention that this is not a legal case, nor is it a trial or hearing.
What is the structure of the meeting?
Horner will present his argument to the inquiry, which has already gathered evidence from the woman who made the accusations. The evidence will be reviewed and reported to Red Bull GmbH, who will take appropriate action if necessary. Horner may also choose to pursue legal action. It is not expected that a resolution will be reached by Friday.
What is the potential impact?
Horner’s career is on the line. Should the inquiry find the allegations are substantiated it seems likely Red Bull GmbH would have little option but to remove him from his position, which would surely be untenable. However if it is less than clear cut they may choose censure in another form, potentially his removal as CEO of Red Bull Racing but not as team principal. If he is exonerated, Horner and Red Bull Racing will look to put the matter behind them as soon as possible.
What is currently happening at Red Bull Racing?
Last season, the team set a record by winning 21 out of 22 races. With two consecutive seasons of dominance and three drivers’ titles for Max Verstappen, it is expected that their car will be just as strong in 2024. However, these recent events could cause significant disruptions, particularly due to Horner’s long tenure with the team and the influence of his personality on it. The accusations have come as a surprise to them, and if the 50-year-old is removed, it could lead to a period of turmoil and uncertainty that may take a while to recover from.
What implications does the investigation have for Formula 1?
The owners of Formula One have not made a statement about the recent events and are waiting for the investigation to conclude. Christian Horner, a prominent figure in the sport, is known beyond just the drivers. His rivalry with Mercedes’ Toto Wolff has been a significant aspect of F1 for ten years and has contributed to the sport’s increase in popularity. Horner is a highly visible team principal with global recognition, so if he were to be fired for misconduct, it would greatly damage the image of the sport.
What could occur if Horner leaves?
Horner, the team principal with the longest tenure, has extensive experience and has been a key component of the team since its inception. However, there are limited options for a replacement outside of Red Bull within the sport. Mattia Binotto, who previously worked for Ferrari, is the most prominent team principal currently without a contract, but may not align with Red Bull’s culture. Internally, the sporting director, Jonathan Wheatley, who has been with the team since 2006, would be a suitable candidate. There are also rumors that Oliver Mintzlaff, managing director of Red Bull GmbH, may be considered for a high-level position within the team.