Christian Horner is pictured on his way to improper conduct hearing after being accused of controlling behaviour by female Red Bull employee – as insiders expect him to be axed
Christian Horner has been pictured making his way to a grueling internal hearing following an accusation of ‘inappropriate behaviour’ at Red Bull’s Formula One team.
The 50-year-old, who has been Red Bull’s principal since it was founded in 2005, was photographed leaving his home in north London for the hearing where he will be questioned by an external English KC lawyer.
Red Bull – the Austrian energy drink company that owns the team – said on Monday it had launched an independent investigation after being made aware of the allegations.
A Red Bull team source said the allegations related to ‘controlling behaviour’ and were alleged to have been towards a female colleague. The complaint was directed at the parent company in Austria rather than the Red Bull team itself.
Horner, who is married to former Spice Girl Geri Halliwell, strongly denies the accusation, saying: ‘I completely deny these allegations.’ He also described the allegation as ‘nuts’ in a message to MailOnline protesting his innocence.
But the Red Bull Racing chief’s future now hangs in the balance, with insiders telling BBC Sport they expect Horner to be sacked.
Christian Horner has been spotted heading to a harrowing hearing following an accusation of ‘inappropriate behaviour’ at Red Bull’s Formula One team
Horner, who is married to former Spice Girl Geri Halliwell (pictured together in Monaco last May), strongly refutes the accusation, saying: ‘I completely deny these allegations.’
If Horner fails to survive his role, sources say an executive from the Austrian side of Red Bull is likely to replace him. Should Horner stand, the effect on the sport would be seismic.
Red Bull has dominated the sport since 2021, including last season when the British-based team taken Max Verstappen to his third consecutive world championship. It came after Mercedes were crowned champions seven years in a row.
Since Red Bull announced its investigation, Horner has remained active in his role as team principal, alongside his dual position as CEO of Red Bull Racing. He is pictured breaking cover for the first time since the allegations yesterday.
Red Bull issued a statement on Monday saying it was investigating “certain recent allegations”.
It continued: ‘This process, which is already underway, is being carried out by an external specialist lawyer.
‘The company takes these matters extremely seriously and the investigation will be completed as soon as practicable. It would not be appropriate to comment further at this stage.’
It is not clear where today’s hearing will be held, but the Mail understands it will not take place at Red Bull’s headquarters in Milton Keynes, while a conclusion is not expected on the day.
The trial threatens to overshadow the launch of Red Bull’s 2024 car on February 15, in which Verstappen will attempt to defend his world title. The new Formula One season begins on March 2 in Bahrain.
But Horner’s supporters claim he is a pawn in a wider power struggle at the organisation, in a vacuum created by the death of his main ally, Dietrich Mateschitz, the soft drink magnate, who died in October 2022.
Red Bull Formula One team boss, Christian Horner, leaves his home in North London yesterday
Christian Horner and wife Geri Halliwell at a book launch at the Tower of London last October
Horner with Red Bull’s Formula One champion Max Verstappen in Qatar on 7 October last year
Christian Horner with David Beckham on the grid at the Miami Grand Prix in May 2022
Christian Horner, with Prince Harry before the Texas Grand Prix in October last year
Horner and Halliwell meet then-Prince Charles at a Prince’s Trust event in London in 2019
A friend of Halliwell told MailOnline she was ‘devastated’ by the allegations but would stand by him publicly.
Horner has been team principal at Red Bull since their entry into F1 19 years ago, overseeing seven drivers’ world championships and six constructors’ titles.
He is the longest-serving team boss in Formula One and was by far the youngest when he led Red Bull in the sport.
Under him, the team has won six constructors’ championships and seven drivers’ titles and are favorites for another season of dominance.
Red Bull won 21 of the 22 rounds last year, with Verstappen setting a record 10 consecutive victories as he claimed his third title in as many years.
Horner received a CBE for his services to motor sport in the New Year Honours. He and Halliwell married in 2015 and have one child together, seven-year-old Montague.
The Red Bull boss celebrated his 50th birthday in December, with Ronnie Wood and Sir Rod Stewart among the stars in attendance.
Take That singer Gary Barlow was also seen tapping the piano as the rest of the guests serenaded him with choruses of happy birthday, while R&B singer Jade Jones was seen posing for a photo with Horner.
Horner was also presented with a three-tiered birthday cake reading ‘World Champion’ – after winning six Constructors’ Championships.