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Formula One

Christian Horner leak: alleged messages shared online

A day after a complaint against the Red Bull team boss was dismissed, alleged evidence is emailed to key F1 figures

Published: 01 Mar 2024

The saga surrounding Christian Horner has taken a dramatic twist, after a Google Drive containing alleged messages between the Red Bull team boss and a female colleague was leaked yesterday.

It comes just hours after a complaint against Horner - reportedly of inappropriate and controlling behaviour - was dismissed by an independent lawyer following an investigation that lasted several weeks.

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Horner has always denied the allegations and reiterated his position last night, saying he wouldn’t “comment on anonymous speculation” and adding: “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.”

Reports say that more than 100 people - among them journalists, fellow team principals and high-ranking members of F1 and the FIA - were sent a link containing 79 files from an anonymous source, along with the message: “Following Red Bull’s recent investigation and statements you will be interested to see the materials attached.”

TopGear.com was not among the recipients but has since seen the cache of files. It would be impossible to independently verify them without access to either Horner’s phone or that of the supposed recipient, and as such the content of the messages cannot be disclosed.

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Genuine or otherwise, the nature of the leak supports the theory that there are those within Red Bull Racing or the parent company who want to discredit Horner, who has been in charge of the team since 2005.

Concerns are also being raised about the measures being taken to achieve this: the name of the alleged recipient is partially visible in more than one file, with no apparent effort made to conceal their identity.

It's not clear what support - if any - is being offered to this individual, who is now at the centre of a global controversy through no fault of their own.

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According to reports, the matter is being discussed by F1 and the FIA. Prior to the leak, Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff and McLaren CEO Zak Brown had called for more transparency from Red Bull.

The exact nature of the original complaint has never been publicly confirmed, and earlier this week Red Bull said it would make no further comment on the investigation “out of respect for all concerned.”

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