Red Bull F1 team principal Christian Horner continues to deny inappropriate behavior after alleged leaked messages

Just a day after being cleared of inappropriate behavior by an external investigation, Red Bull Formula One team principal Christian Horner has reiterated that he denies allegations of wrongdoing.

This comes after alleged leaked messages were distributed to members of the F1 community Thursday, containing a Google drive of WhatsApp messages. It was anonymously emailed to notable race officials, teams and journalists around the world.

Phil Duncan – CNN Contributor and F1 correspondent for the Press Association – received the drive in an email from an unknown account.

“We had the investigation and Christian Horner was effectively exonerated by Red Bull’s parent company, but then the WhatsApp messages landed last night to almost 150 members of the Formula 1 paddock, which included all the nine other team principles, the FIA President Mohammed Ben Sulayem, the F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali and members of the media too,” Duncan told CNN Sport on Friday.

“It’s an investigation for Horner which he may have thought was over on Wednesday night when he arrived but has obviously changed dramatically 24 hours later.”

Horner is currently in Bahrain for the first race of the 2024 F1 season on Saturday.

The Google drive contains 79 separate files purported to be materials related to the recent investigation and statements, according to the email. CNN has been unable to corroborate its authenticity.

“They haven’t been 100% verified, but Horner hasn’t at this stage denied that they were from him,” Duncan added.

“I won’t comment on anonymous speculation,” Horner said Thursday, per Reuters, following the email’s distribution.

“But to reiterate, I have always denied the allegations. I respected the integrity of the independent investigation and fully co-operated with it every step of the way.

“It was a thorough and fair investigation conducted by an independent specialist barrister and it has concluded dismissing the complaint made. I remain fully focused on the start of the season.”

In a statement, regarding the mass email, Red Bull told CNN, “This is a private matter between Mr. Horner and another and it would be inappropriate for Red Bull to comment on this.”

An independent investigation was launched by Red Bull in February after Horner was accused of engaging in inappropriate behavior towards a member of the racing team, who has not been identified. This week, the investigation cleared Horner of any wrongdoing.

“The independent investigation into the allegations made against Mr. Horner is complete, and Red Bull can confirm that the grievance has been dismissed,” a statement issued by Red Bull on Wednesday read.

Duncan adds that, despite Horner feeling that he can ride out this saga, the situation may be taken out of his hands by the FIA (Formula 1’s governing body) if they choose to act further and this latest development has changed the situation completely.

Duncan also believes that this story is certainly set to continue past this race weekend.

“This could rumble on for a little bit longer. It is not going to go away. Certainly, the feeling here in Bahrain is that this one could go on and on and it’s just whether we get a swift resolution and the line is completely drawn under it and Christian Horner is allowed to continue in his position or whether the pressure becomes too intense for him and for Red Bull Racing and he has to leave his post,” he said.

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