Horner all smiles despite F1 scandal that could topple him

Thu, 22 February 2024, 09:00

Feb.22 (GMM) Red Bull was putting on an image of happy team unity as Christian Horner took up his usual place on the Red Bull pitwall in Bahrain.

While the team’s energy drink parent continues to investigate the accusations of a female team member amid rumours of a power struggle, the long-time Red Bull boss sat smiling at a table as Dr Helmut Marko sipped a bowl of soup alongside him.

Nevertheless, rumours Horner will be imminently ousted are still rampant, although Viaplay broadcaster Mervi Kallio was forced on Wednesday to walk back her assertion that a decision has now been taken to announce Horner’s departure perhaps as soon as this week.

“Even the Red Bull board has forbidden those present to comment in any way,” Kallio said. “But the decision that Horner will have to step down has apparently already been made.”

Horner’s rival team bosses did not want to comment when asked about the Red Bull turmoil on the opening day of the Bahrain test – but Toto Wolff was the exception.

“It’s a delicate issue,” the Mercedes team boss told Sky Italia. “Red Bull has decided to open an internal investigation and we must respect it and have faith in this process.

“Of course we are all for respect and inclusion, but we don’t want to talk about conjecture.”

Wolff hinted, however, that if Horner’s accuser is ultimately believed by Red Bull’s independent investigator, his F1 nemesis may need to pay the ultimate price.

“These are the standards that we’re setting ourselves in Formula 1,” he said. “We live in a global sport, one of the most important sports platforms in the world. And we are role models.”

Wolff also suggested that the saga risks bringing F1 into disrepute.

“We can talk when we know what the outcomes are, and what it means for Formula 1 and how we can learn from that. Because we want to talk about racing cars rather than these kinds of very, very critical topics,” he said.

“It is more than just the team’s issue. It’s an issue for all of Formula 1.”

You may also like