Inside reeling Red Bull Racing with ‘power struggle between Christian Horner and bosses’ amid shock ‘behaviour’ probe


ALLEGATIONS of “inappropriate behaviour” against F1 boss Christian Horner come amid a power struggle at Red Bull Racing.

Horner, 50, was locked in a meeting over preparations for Red Bull’s defence of their championship titles when news of a female colleague’s accusation against him broke.

PAChristian Horner, pictured last August, has been accused of ‘inappropriate behaviour’ towards a female colleague[/caption]

GettyMax Verstappen and Horner before the Formula 1 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix in November 2022[/caption]

The woman is understood to have complained to the team’s parent company at Red Bull in Austria about “inappropriate behaviour”.

Horner, 50, is now the focus of a probe being run by an independent lawyer appointed to examine her allegations.

The F1 chief, who is married to Spice Girl Geri Halliwell and runs the all-conquering team of world champion Max Verstappen, said: “I completely deny these claims.”

F1 sources said the allegations against Horner could jeopardise his position at the helm of the Red Bull team.

Red Bull Austria issued a statement on the investigation while Horner was in a meeting in London on Monday.

According to The Times, Red Bull Racing’s team office in Milton Keynes repeatedly denied the allegation of a complaint against Horner just a day earlier on Sunday.

On Monday, Red Bull’s Global Headquarters in Austria put out a statement without notifying officials at the F1 team first.

But before the investigation was revealed, it is understood trouble was already brewing beneath the surface at Red Bull Racing.

Rumours of an unrelated power struggle within the team’s leadership have swirled since the death of co-founder Dietrich Mateschitz in 2022.

After the billionaire’s death, Red Bull drafted in a new board of directors to oversee the business.

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 even 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 Max 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.

He even suggested rumours may have been fanned by opponents, adding: “As we’ve tied up both championships, there’s not a lot to be talking about, so it’s very easy for others to wind the situation up.”

But Marko hinted at an internal wrangle when he commented: “I have a contract until the end of 2024 and in the end it’s the shareholders’ decision, not Christian Horner’s, and in the end it’s me who decides.”

Formula 1 reporter Erik van Haren said the power struggle appears to be coming to a “climax now”.

He told De Telegraaf: “[Horner and Marko] become more and more like water and fire.

“Although, of course, in the publicity they pretend that nothing is wrong.

“Horner is, of course, the team principal and the CEO of Red Bull Racing. More than a thousand people work there. Super important for the operational side of the whole story.

“However, it is of course known to all Formula 1 connoisseurs that Helmut Marko, the Austrian, pulls the big picture. So he decides who sits in those seats.

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“And yes, Horner might be the guy who would like to do that too, but Helmut is the guy who makes the big decisions.

“So if you were to ask Max Verstappen, the most important man in that team, with a knife to your throat, if you had to choose between Christian Horner and Helmut Marko, you would always choose Helmut.”

Horner was appointed Team Principal of Red Bull’s F1 team in 2005, and has bagged 13 world titles along the way.

Wife Geri, 51, was standing by him last night, telling pals she does not believe gossip that has been swirling for days.

Red Bull Racing’s Austria-based parent company said yesterday: “After being made aware of certain recent allegations, the company launched an independent investigation.

“This process, which is already under way, is being carried out by an external specialist barrister.

“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 Red Bull Racing source said: “Nothing further is being added to ensure the integrity of the investigation is respected.”

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

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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

PAHorner with wife Geri Halliwell last February[/caption]

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