Feb.8 (GMM) Another candidate to potentially replace Red Bull’s embattled team boss Christian Horner has emerged.
An independent lawyer commissioned by the team’s Austrian parent company will be in Milton-Keynes on Friday for a crunch meeting, with Horner facing expulsion over alleged inappropriate behaviour with a female staff member.
James Vowles, Horner’s counterpart at Williams and close to well-known Horner nemesis Toto Wolff, thinks the troubles reflect a culture shift in Formula 1.
“Wind back 20 years ago – the sport was male-dominated without question. White, more than likely male, more than likely 40 years old,” he told Bloomberg TV. “That’s changing, and it’s only a positive.
“But these allegations? I don’t know what happened.”
Following his recent obvious power struggle with Horner, Austrian Dr Helmut Marko has been conspicuously quiet amid the new scandal. When asked by motorsport-total.com’s Christian Nimmervoll, the 80-year-old said only: “Horner has done a great job over the years.”
Bernie Ecclestone is very close to Horner, 50, and Sport1 believes the former F1 supremo has been gently counselling his fellow Briton behind the scenes.
Horner, though, is refusing to simply resign.
It is rumoured that Horner may also have fallen out with Max Verstappen’s father Jos, with the Dutch camp already much more aligned with Austria and Marko.
And Horner may also have lost the personal and contractual backing of Adrian Newey. Eagle-eyed social media users noticed that Newey’s wife Amanda ‘liked’ a post on X linking her husband with a sensational move to Ferrari.
“Now’s your chance to tick off those regrets, Adrian,” the comment that Amanda liked read. Sport1 reports that Newey and Horner’s friendship is “broken” – with F1’s most respected technical mind committing to Red Bull irrespective of Horner’s position.
Critically, Horner may still have the support of Red Bull’s non-Austrian ownership camp, the Thais, who control 51 percent of the energy drink brand.
“I have the feeling that the Austrian side really wants to get rid of Horner, especially with this issue,” Erik van Haren, a Dutch journalist for De Telegraaf who has been very close to the story, said on the DRS De Race Show podcast.
“I think the Thai owner is still on Horner’s side at the moment. Ultimately, he has the most important voice.”
Long-time Red Bull Racing team manager Jonathan Wheatley is strongly linked with Horner’s post should he be ousted, but another fascinating contender has also emerged.
London’s Times newspaper said the post-Horner team could in fact be run by Oliver Mintzlaff, who together with Mark Mateschitz is in charge of Red Bull’s Austrian operations in the wake of founder Dietrich Mateschitz’s late 2022 death.
Horner has denied the allegations, whose precise nature remains unclear, calling them “nuts” when asked by the Daily Mail.