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Christian Horner investigation could run into Red Bull’s car launch

Christian Horner looks on - Horner investigation could run into Red Bull's car launch
Christian Horner will be interviewed by an independent barrister on Friday about the allegations - Getty Images/Vince Mignott

Red Bull’s investigation into team principal Christian Horner could still be ongoing by the time next Thursday’s car launch takes place in Milton Keynes, although it is understood there are no plans to cancel the event even if there is no resolution by then.

Horner, 50, will be interviewed by an independent barrister on Friday over allegations of “inappropriate controlling behaviour” towards a female colleague. The interview is rumoured to be taking place in London. Horner has denied the allegations.

Red Bull Racing’s parent company in Austria launched the probe earlier this week, saying it had hired an “external, specialist lawyer” to look into the claims.

It is now unclear whether Horner’s accuser will also be speaking to the barrister on Friday. But that seems unlikely given Horner’s interview is expected to last for several hours, after which the lawyer will need time to type up a record of their conversation. He would then need to go through the same process with Horner’s accuser, whenever that might be.

While all parties remain eager to reach a swift resolution – both Horner and the female member of staff in question continue to work at Red Bull Racing’s headquarters in Milton Keynes – it seems far from impossible that the investigation will drag on beyond the RB20 launch date of Feb 15.

There are currently no plans to cancel the event should that be the case. Unlike Mercedes’s car launch the day before, which will be a virtual affair, Red Bull’s unveiling is due to take place live at the factory in Milton Keynes. It is scheduled to be a big occasion, as the team enter their 20th season of racing, with scores of journalists due to speak to Horner and triple world champion Max Verstappen. Horner would presumably be unable to comment on an ongoing investigation. But it would make for an extremely awkward occasion.

Pre-season testing takes place in Bahrain the week after next, from February 21-23, with the first race of the season, also in Bahrain, on March 2.

Meanwhile, Silverstone has signed a new 10-year contract to host the British Grand Prix, meaning the Northamptonshire circuit will remain the home of British motor racing until at least 2034. Silverstone’s current deal was due to expire this year.

James Sunderland MP, co-chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Motorsport, hailed the deal, describing Silverstone and Formula One as the “jewels in the crown of our motorsport industry, worth over £10 billion a year to the UK economy”.

“The APPG hopes and expects that the British Grand Prix will remain free to air and live in the UK for this entire time,” the group added in a statement.

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