CHRISTIAN Horner is set to face a crunch meeting over allegations of “inappropriate behaviour”.
The Red Bull Racing chief, 50, is being investigated over claims made by a female colleague.
GettyRed Bull boss Christian Horner is under investigation over allegations of ‘inappropriate behaviour’[/caption]
GettyMax Verstappen and Horner pose after the Qatar Grand Prix in October last year[/caption]
PAThe female staffer is understood to have complained about Horner – pictured with wife Geri – to the team’s parent company at Red Bull in Austria[/caption]
Instagram / gerihalliwellhornerHorner tied the knot with Geri, 51, in 2015 and have one child together[/caption]
The woman is understood to have complained to the team’s parent company at Red Bull in Austria about “inappropriate behaviour”.
Horner is now the focus of a probe being run by an independent lawyer appointed to examine her allegations.
The F1 chief will be quizzed on Friday by an investigator instructed by Red Bull in Austria.
It is understood the hearing will take place in the UK.
On Tuesday, Horner fulfilled his work schedule as planned.
He’s expected to be in the office on Wednesday as Red Bull prepare their F1 car for the 2024 season – set to be launched on February 15.
He was preparing for Red Bull’s defence of their championship titles when news of the colleague’s accusation against him broke.
The internal investigation has rocked the F1 operation ahead of the new season – which kicks off in Bahrain on March 2.
Horner has won 13 titles with the Milton Keynes-based team – and has a notoriously-high worth ethic and expects similar from his staff.
His drive has seen the team achieve considerable success since he joined in 2005.
He set about signing key employees to achieve success – including design whizz Andrian Newey, who joined from McLaren the following year, and Sporting Director Jonathan Wheatley, from Benetton.
Newey, F1’s greatest designer, has formed a strong partnership with Horner and there has been a long-standing rumour that the two’s contracts are linked, binding both with the team.
Red Bull Racing are looking to defend their constructors and drivers’ championship titles in the 2024 season.
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.
Formula 1 reporter Erik van Haren said the power struggle appears to be coming to a “climax now”.
The next step will depend on the outcome of Friday’s meeting and the support of Red Bull’s Thai owner.
Wife Geri, 51, was standing by him last night, telling pals she does not believe gossip that has been swirling for days.
A source close to the Ginger Spice star said: “Geri has been in floods of tears all weekend while looking after her kids.
“She is insisting Christian has done nothing wrong.”
Red Bull Racing’s Austria-based parent company said: “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
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
GettyHorner and his colleague Dr Helmut Marko[/caption]
Max Verstappen and Horner before the Formula 1 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix in November 2022Getty
Horner with wife Geri Halliwell last FebruaryPA