Red Bull F1 team in turmoil after leak of messages allegedly involving boss

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Red Bull Racing has begun the Formula One Season in turmoil after a cache of messages allegedly involving team boss Christian Horner and a female employee was emailed to figures in the sport and the press.

Horner met Mohammed Ben Sulayem, the head of the body that governs autosport, in Bahrain on Friday, a day before Red Bull begins the defence of its constructors’ and drivers’ titles in the Middle Eastern island state.

Red Bull said on Wednesday that a complaint against Horner had been dismissed following a barrister-led investigation into allegations of inappropriate behaviour towards a female colleague. The cache of messages was sent anonymously a day later.

The cache, sent to Ben Sulayem, F1 chief Stefano Domenicali, the boss of rival F1 team Mercedes Toto Wolff, and other leading figures in motorsport, contained screenshots of messages allegedly exchanged between Horner and the woman whose complaint triggered the investigation.

Formula One, which is owned by US group Liberty Media, and Ben Sulayem’s Federation Internationale de l’Automobile are discussing the situation, according to people with knowledge of the matter. F1 and the FIA declined to comment.

It remains unclear what Horner discussed with Ben Sulayem, FIA president, at Friday’s meeting.

Responding to questions about the email, Horner said he would not comment on “anonymous speculation” and reiterated that he had “always denied the allegations”.

“I respected the integrity of the independent investigation and fully co-operated with it every step of the way,” he said. “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.”

The investigation has drawn scrutiny from rival teams and from US automaker Ford, which is planning to re-enter F1 in 2026 through a partnership with Red Bull. The US car company, which had previously called for a transparent and rapid investigation, declined to comment on the latest allegations.

Asked about the cache, Red Bull said it would be inappropriate to comment on “a private matter between Mr Horner and another”. Red Bull Racing, the F1 team owned by the Austrian energy drinks group, declined to comment.

Red Bull has not published the investigation report, adding that the complainant can still appeal against its decision not to pursue the matter.

Horner, 50, has led Red Bull Racing since early 2005, shortly after the late Dietrich Mateschitz, founder of the drinks company, bought the F1 team.

The F1 team chief, who is married to former Spice Girl Geri Halliwell, has been one of the stars of the hit Netflix series Drive to Survive, which has been credited with boosting the popularity of the sport.

He has led Red Bull to six constructors’ championships — which measure the performance of the entire team — and seven drivers’ titles.

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