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Formula 1

What happens next now Red Bull's dismissed Horner 'grievance'

by Scott Mitchell-Malm
5 min read

Red Bull GmbH announced on the eve of the new Formula 1 season the “grievance” filed against its team boss Christian Horner has been dismissed – now it’s a question of whether that is really the end of the matter.

Horner has been cleared by the investigation ordered by Red Bull Racing’s parent company after allegations emerged earlier this year.

A statement from Red Bull GmbH offered few concrete answers beyond that. Though it is understood Horner continues as team principal and CEO of Red Bull Racing, this is not yet fully resolved.  


Christian Horner, Red Bull, F1

The first point to note is that the complainant has a right of appeal. It is not known if that will be exercised.

The original process was exhaustive, and believed to span more than a month as the barrister put in charge gathered all the relevant evidence.

By announcing the outcome on Wednesday, after a meeting of Red Bull’s directors, the company has attempted to resolve the matter before Horner is present in Bahrain for the season opening grand prix.

This looked like it might not be possible at one stage, such was the lengthy nature of the investigation.

An appeal would re-open the process and cause it to run into the season.


Red Bull, F1

Red Bull’s statement makes it clear that it believes the process has been “fair, rigorous and impartial” – but we only have the company’s word on that.

No information about the allegations or the evidence has been shared by Red Bull, nor will it be.

Red Bull says the report is confidential and “contains the private information of the parties and third parties who assisted the investigation”.

It will not comment further “out of respect for all concerned”.

Christian Horner, F1

Given the severity of the matter and the nature of the claim, the details of which have not been publicly disclosed, it was clearly taken seriously by the company.

That is shown by the fact it was Red Bull GmbH that intervened and ordered an external investigation and the duration of the process.

Red Bull Racing driver Max Verstappen said he was trusting the process in a press conference earlier on Wednesday and the lack of details means we must accept that as well.


Horner has not ducked his public-facing duties as Red Bull’s primary spokesperson while this has gone on.

He was present at the car launch – front and centre, in fact – and while his presence in pre-season testing was not as prominent, he did still appear in a team principals’ press conference organised by F1.

So, we can expect him to face the media on Thursday, his first day in the paddock since the outcome was announced, having arrived in Bahrain – but not been at the track – on Wednesday.

He may speak more freely than he could previously, now the process has been concluded, but given Red Bull has preached confidentiality he is likely to keep specific details to himself.

In terms of what happens next with him, he remains team principal and will assert that it is business as usual.

However, given the wild nature of some speculation around this and leaks to Dutch media, Horner may now go on the offensive himself to discover where that came from and whether he needs to/can take action.


Sergio Perez, Red Bull, F1

It seems unlikely that Red Bull Racing will be impacted by this given Horner being cleared is the opposite of the potentially enormous destabiliser that him being removed from the position could be.

Red Bull has clearly gone about its business like normal in recent months, while Horner has faced this personal situation, and produced what looks to be a fantastic racing car.

Its team was well-organised and executed a flawless pre-season test, so trackside there is zero indication of any short-term negative impact on Red Bull.


Red Bull, F1

In the longer term, though, there is a question mark over whether this has hinted at a conflict on the horizon between Horner and other parts of Red Bull Racing and the wider Red Bull organisation.

There has been talk of an emerging power struggle between the UK side of the team, led by Horner in Milton Keynes, and the branch of the Red Bull business that is headed by Oliver Mintzlaff, in the wake of Dietrich Mateschitz’s passing in late 2022.

It is important to view the claim and the investigation in isolation, given the severity of the matter, but it is also possible for other tensions to exist in the background at the same time.

Some in F1 believe that Red Bull in Austria is concerned by Horner’s power base given his leadership of Red Bull Racing and the F1 operation’s various other businesses, including the new Powertrains facility in Milton Keynes that Horner is also the CEO of.

Red Bull HQ, F1

As the post-Mateschitz era of Red Bull slowly takes shape, there is clearly a desire for more influence on and accountability from its F1 teams. Look at how Red Bull has clearly interfered with the presentation and operation of its second team, now named RB.

Align that with a possible concern about Horner's influence and it may be seen to be in Red Bull’s interest to take control back of a huge entity operating in its name but effectively existing outside its remit for a couple of decades now.

It will be interesting to learn whether Horner believes there is any threat from within, especially in the context of the aforementioned leaking of information while this process has been carried out.

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