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Formula 1

Red Bull suspends staff member who made Horner complaint

by Scott Mitchell-Malm
2 min read

Red Bull’s Formula 1 team has suspended the female member of staff who made a complaint against Christian Horner that was dismissed by a recent investigation.

Last month it emerged the Red Bull parent company ordered an investigation be carried out by an external barrister after being made aware of allegations by the Red Bull Racing employee.

Red Bull GmbH announced on the eve of the 2024 season opener in Bahrain that the grievance had been dismissed.

The complainant had the right to appeal but reports that the five-day period to request an appeal had already lapsed were incorrect.

No follow-up action from either party could be pursued until legal letters were issued. This happened at the start of this week, hence the timing of the suspension, and it also means there is still time for an appeal to be pursued by the complainant.

Red Bull refused to reveal any more information, citing the need to keep details confidential to protect those who assisted in the investigation. Horner has said very little about the process or the outcome since. A Red Bull Racing spokesperson said the team could not comment on any details on Thursday.

The accuser had continued working with the team but it emerged at the start of F1’s second round in Saudi Arabia that she had been suspended on full pay.

This action is understood to relate to the findings of the investigation.

Horner was not suspended by Red Bull while the investigation was carried out and continued to work as team principal and CEO for the duration of the process.

His position has been secured by the outcome of the investigation although the intense scrutiny on the team because of this was exacerbated when, 24 hours after Red Bull said the grievance had been dismissed, there was a leak of alleged evidence from the investigation.

The veracity of the messages in that dossier sent to senior F1 personnel and media has not been verified. Neither Horner nor Red Bull will say whether the messages are real or not. 

The Red Bull parent company’s lack of transparency around the entire process has opened the door to wild speculation since this first became public over a month ago.

F1 and the FIA have tentatively got involved by meeting with Horner separately and are monitoring the situation closely, with concerns it is damaging the championship, although neither has taken any action.

After last week’s Bahrain Grand Prix, Max Verstappen’s father Jos effectively called for Horner to leave.

He said that Red Bull risked being torn apart under Horner’s leadership and that the tension this situation has caused could make the team “explode”.

Horner is due to speak on Thursday in the FIA press conference between F1’s two practice sessions in Jeddah.

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