Red Bull Racing Team Principal Christian Horner talks during the Oracle Red Bull Racing Season Launch 2023 at Classic Car Club Manhattan on February 03, 2023 in New York City. (Photo by Arturo Holmes/Getty Images for Oracle Red Bull Racing) // FIA / Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

Formula 1 News: Horner ‘innocent’ says Bernie Ecclestone

(GMM) Christian Horner is still at work as usual in charge of Red Bull’s Formula 1 team. Bernie Ecclestone insists that Horner is technically “innocent”.

Horner’s entire career is in doubt as the team’s parent company, Red Bull GmbH, looks into the accusations of a female staff member who alleges controlling or aggressive management behavior by the 50-year-old.

“Poor Horner,” Russian F1 commentator Alexey Popov said, as the investigation drags on and looks set to definitely overlap with the looming launch of Red Bull’s 2024 car and the start of pre-season testing.

Indeed, Horner was there, in full Red Bull team gear, as the new RB20 was given its shakedown debut in a private session at the wet Silverstone circuit on Tuesday.

“Apparently there is no talk of harassment or indecent photographs,” Popov added. “It’s a matter of abuse of power. For European tastes, Horner did not communicate very politely with his employee, and they filed a denunciation to the Red Bull head office in Austria.”

De Telegraaf newspaper reports that as well as attending the 2024 car’s track debut on Tuesday, he fully intends to be present at the launch on Thursday.

It is reported that F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali has been in touch with Red Bull GmbH over the investigation, while the sport’s former supremo Bernie Ecclestone – a friend of Horner’s – has been counselling him behind the scenes.

“Red Bull is in the public eye as a company and needs answers,” 93-year-old Ecclestone, told the German news agency DPA.

Horner was Ecclestone’s best man at his third wedding in 2012.

“We have been good friends for a long time,” Ecclestone confirmed. “He has now been accused. Unless proven otherwise, he is innocent.”

Ecclestone also told the French news agency AFP: “Apart from keeping his head down, my advice to Christian is to do nothing and wait and see what happens.

“I am in close contact with him. The problem is that when you succeed, you make a lot of enemies. What I hope is that someone will talk to him and the woman individually and everything will be worked out.”

As for what triggered the entire saga, Ecclestone has his theory.

“I feel that the death of Dietrich Mateschitz created a vacuum,” he said. “Several people took different positions and saw an opportunity to make up different stories and hurt Horner.

“They want to overthrow him. He has achieved enormous success and has made incredible efforts not only for the team, but also for the sport,” Ecclestone added.

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