Red Bull has launched an independent investigation following internal allegations about inappropriate behavior by the British team boss. The revelation by De Telegraaf has hit the Formula 1 world like a bombshell. Horner is one of the most famous people in the paddock, heads the best-performing team in recent years and is a celebrity in England, partly due to his relationship with former Spice Girl Geri Halliwell.
Red Bull Racing itself refrains from commenting. Media were referred on Monday to Horner’s negative response in De Telegraaf and to the statement about the investigation by Red Bull’s parent company.
“If this should happen to us…”
In an interview with Bloomberg TV, James Vowles, the big man at Williams, was the first competitor to respond to the Horner case. “The sport itself, 20 years ago, was without a doubt male-dominated,” he said. “If you were to ask me what a team consists of, I would say this: white, more than likely male, more than likely 40 years old… Something along those lines. That is changing and it is only positive that this result is changing.”
“I can only control what happens within Williams and what I can do within that environment is open everyone's eyes because the best ideas don't come from a closed group of individuals. These accusations are accusations,” it said. “I'm afraid I don’t have any understanding of what is behind it and the meaning of what happened. All I can say is that if this ever happened to our team, we would be fully focused on resolving it and ensuring we have a culture that is accepting of everyone.”
When asked about a possible outcome of the investigation, which could involve Horner leaving the sport, Vowles replied: “Again, I think this would mean we all need to look in the mirror and make sure we're going in the right direction , asking the right questions internally and acting in a way that we can be proud of not only today, but for the next ten years.”
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Horner in conversation on Friday
Christian Horner will be visited next Friday at the racing stable's factory in Milton Keynes by the external, specialized lawyer engaged by the energy drink manufacturer's head office.
News of the investigation emerged on Monday, when Horner was still in the middle of a meeting with the other nine team bosses and Formula 1 president Stefano Domenicali. The Briton has not yet been suspended, is currently working in Milton Keynes and is currently not planning to (temporarily) step down as team boss and CEO of the racing team.