RED Bull boss Christian Horner is well used to steering himself through personal crises.
The F1 boss, 50, who is facing accusations of “controlling behaviour” from a female colleague, fell out with his parents after he left the mother of his first child and got engaged to Spice Girl Geri Halliwell, 51.
GettyRed Bull F1 chief Christian Horner with wife Geri Halliwell[/caption]
Splash NewsSpice Girl Geri and Christian on their wedding day[/caption]
His mum and dad didn’t attend the couple‘s star studded wedding in 2015, reportedly because they were upset about him leaving his partner of 14 years, Beverley Allen.
Eventually, though, Christian managed to patch things up with both Beverley and his parents.
Christian also had to overcome the failure of his own career as a racing driver, quitting at 25.
He did so by borrowing money and putting his energy into establishing his own team.
The hard-working team boss is said to have never missed a day at the track, even for the birth of his first child.
Now there are rumours of a power struggle within Red Bull, a battle that could be Christian’s toughest yet.
Desmond O’Neill Features LtdChristian with his ex, Beverley Allen[/caption]
The Austrian company has hired an independent barrister to investigate claims of “inappropriate behaviour” by the F1 chief.
Multi-millionaire Christian has denied the allegations and is expected to stay on as boss while the probe is carried out.
He’s sure to do everything to hold onto his role, having once said: “I never struggle for motivation. Motivation is something that burns within.
“I think winning becomes addictive. It’s the fear of failure that drives all of us at Red Bull.
“Formula One is such a competitive business that you can’t afford to miss a beat.”
Christian, from Leamington Spa in Warwickshire, was born into a world of cars, with his wealthy father Garry owning a business that supplied parts to motor manufacturers.
One of three brothers, he was privately educated and got the racing bug after persuading his parents to buy him a go-kart at the age of 11.
He said: “I left school at 18, I didn’t go to university, my focus was very much on racing and forging a career as a driver.”
GettyChristian aged 20 at the start of his racing career[/caption]
GettyChristian in British Formula 3 at Silverstone in 1995[/caption]
Aged 19 he started competing for Manor Racing in the British Formula Renault Championship.
He worked his way up the field to Formula F3000, considered to be the final step to reaching Formula 1.
But when Juan Pablo Montoya, who progressed to F1, came past him on a very fast corner, Christian realised he didn’t have the right psychological mentality for the daredevil sport.
He admitted: “The commitment he had, was one I knew my brain and foot just wouldn’t be able to do. I recognised that I wasn’t prepared to take that risk.”
Aged 25 he quit racing and focused on running the Arden team he’d already set up using borrowed money.
For a brief time Arden were part-funded from Russian oil company Lukoil, whose oligarch founder is currently on the UK sanctions list.
His success at Arden convinced Red Bull to make him the youngest ever F1 team chief in January 2005, with Christian aged just 31.
I recognised that I wasn’t prepared to take that risk
He proved to be a dynamic and committed boss.
Christian promised to jump into a swimming pool in just a Superman cape when the team achieved its first F1 podium, and did exactly that after the car finished in the top three at Monaco in 2006.
Four years later Red Bull won both its first F1 Constructors Championship and driver’s championship, with a young Sebastian Vettel taking the title.
Family fall out
GettyChristian and Geri met thanks to a shared passion for F1[/caption]
Geri’s daughter Bluebell (l), son Monty centre and Christian’s daughter Olivia (r)Getty Images – Getty
In his home life things appeared to be settled, with Christian living in a Northamptonshire mansion with his former pub landlady partner Beverley Allen, who is six years his senior.
He was stepdad to Beverley’s two children, Kieron, 35, and Liam, 31, and the couple were keen to have a child of their own.
That dream came true when Beverley gave birth to Olivia in October 2013, although Christian couldn’t be there to see his daughter arrive because he was with Red Bull in Japan.
He said at the time: “I think being a father will be more of a challenge than running a team of over 500 people, but I am looking forward to it.”
But six months later Christian split from Beverley after 14 years together.
I think being a father will be more of a challenge than running a team of over 500 people, but I am looking forward to it
Shortly afterwards in March 2014, he was dating Geri, and by November the couple announced in The Times newspaper that they were engaged.
Geri had long been an F1 fan and they met through a shared love for motorsport.
The whirlwind engagement surprised many, because neither Geri, who has a daughter Bluebell, now 17, from a former relationship, nor Christian had previously walked down the aisle.
It was not welcomed by Christian’s parents Garry and Sara, who refused to attend the wedding at Woburn Abbey in Bedfordshire in May 2015.
Prior to the nuptials a family member said: “You can say that his parents are absolutely devastated. We won’t be going to the wedding.
“There is a lot more to this story than people know about – to do with his ex-partner.”
But Christian managed to heal the family rift by getting back on friendly terms with Beverley.
In an interview last year he revealed: “I have a great relationship with Beverley, and Beverley gets on with Geri, and Geri is great with Olivia and Olivia has a lovely relationship with Monty.
“It’s totally harmonious.”
You can say that his parents are absolutely devastated. We won’t be going to the wedding
Monty is Geri and Christian’s seven year-old son. The couple live in a mansion in Oxfordshire with a stable for 14 horses, and Geri is a devoted wife.
She said in 2015: “I do cook for him, I do like to see that he’s happy. When I go to the Formula 1 races, I’m not about all the glamour.
“I never thought I’d meet the man who I knew I would be with always. I can be myself with him, I can breathe out. I don’t ever want to get divorced.”
Twitter/Planet_F1Christian jumped in a pool in just a Superman cape[/caption]
Christian celebrating Red Bull’s championship success in 2012Getty Images – Getty
That relaxed family life is in contrast to the stressful world of Formula 1.
Christian, said to be worth £41million, is known to swear and has admitted to not being on friendly terms with rival Wolff.
He said: “I’ve never been a believer that you can be the best mate with your competitor. I think it’s dishonest.”
When Verstappen beat Hamilton to the 2021 F1 championship, he blurted out “Mercedes f****d up.”
His Red Bull Team dominated last year’s F1 championship and are favourites to do the same this year.
I’ve never been a believer that you can be the best mate with your competitor. I think it’s dishonest
After the billionaire’s death, Red Bull drafted in a new board of directors to oversee the business, and former RB Leipzig CEO Oliver Mintzlaff was appointed chief executive.
Despite Red Bull enjoying its most successful season in F1 history in 2023, there was speculation of a rift between Horner and Helmut Marko – Red Bull GmBH’s motorsport advisor.
Rumours went as far as to suggest Horner was determined to get rid of Marko, 80, from the team, reports the Telegraph.
The former professional driver has overseen the Red Bull driver development programme since 2005 and was a driving force in bringing Verstappen to the team.
But speculation was played down, with Horner only acknowledging there had been a “small difference of opinion” between himself and Marko.
Red Bull is now investigating the allegations of “inappropriate behaviour” against Christian, with the internal inquiry reportedly leaving Geri in “floods of tears”.
She was standing by her husband last night, telling pals she does not believe gossip that has been swirling for days.
Red Bull issued a statement saying: “After being made aware of certain recent allegations, the company launched an independent investigation.
“The company takes these matters extremely seriously and the investigation will be completed as soon as practically possible. It would not be appropriate to comment further at this time.”
A look at Christian Horner’s life and career
CHRISTIAN Horner is among the most well-known names in Formula One having helped build Red Bull into one of the biggest teams in the sport.
1973 – Born in Leamington Spa, Warwickshire
1991 – Wins a Formula Renault scholarship after impressing in karting races
1993-1997 – Competed in a host of competitions including British Formula Three, British Formula Two, and Formula 3000
1997 – Founded and developed the F3000 team Arden
1999 – Retired from driving and continued developing the Arden team
2005 – Appointed head of Red Bull team, becoming the youngest ever team principal at that time
2009 – Wins his first races as team principal with Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber
2010 – Wins the Constructors’ Championship and Drivers’ Championship with Vettel – the first of four doubles in a row
2013 – Has a daughter with ex-wife Beverly Allen shortly before the couple split
2014 – Gets engaged to Spice Girls member Geri Halliwell
2015 – Marries Halliwell in Woburn, Bedfordshire
2017 – Horner and Halliwell welcome their son
2021 – Wins another Drivers’ Championship with Max Verstappen, pipping Lewis Hamilton on the final lap of the season
2022-23 – Red Bull win the Drivers’ Championship and Constructors’ Championship two years in a row
InstagramChristian with showbiz pals at his 50th birthday[/caption]
InstagramGeri and Christian on holiday[/caption]
InstagramChristian and Geri have horse stables at their home[/caption]
Christian with Geri and her Spice Girl pals, along with Rylan