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Christian Horner Breaks Silence on the Anonyomous Emails Sent to F1 Personnel

Published 03/03/2024, 6:30 AM EST

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via Reuters

Despite his clear chit, Christian Horner is still the epicenter of the storm caused by his “inappropriate behavior” allegations. On Wednesday, a day before the start of the season-opening Bahrain GP, the Red Bull boss was cleared of all the charges against him. However, while he may have undeniably been relieved, that feeling lasted less than 24 hours. It was the calm before another storm.

Remember how McLaren CEO Zak Brown and Mercedes Team Principal Toto Wolff asked for more investigation transparency? “I believe with the aspiration as a global sport, on such critical topics, it needs more transparency,” said Wolff. Well, on February 29, they may have received some alleged evidence for the accusations. As it turns out, multiple F1 personnel, including team principals and media, received a mail with alleged evidence of Horner’s incriminating actions.

The mail, set to more than 100 people, contained a Google Drive folder that had 79 images of messages that appeared to be between Horner and the employee. However, the investigation hasn’t been reopened despite the anonymous email, but Christian Horner has broken his silence. The Brit stood by his initial stance of innocence in the matter. Now, after a perfect weekend and the start of the new campaign in Bahrain, he has addressed the email in question and shifted the focus back where he thinks it belongs: racing.

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“I’m not going to comment on what motive whatever person may have for doing this,” he said while speaking to the media after the Bahrain Grand Prix. “My focus is on this team, my family, my wife, and going racing. I have the support of an incredible family, with an incredible wife and an incredible team. And everybody within that team. My focus is on going racing and winning races and doing the best that I can.”

Red Bull picked up right where it left off in 2023. In the season opener, Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez finished P1 and P2, respectively. Despite that perfect result, a lot of the attention was focused on Horner. Reflecting on all this, the 50-year-old explained, “Obviously, it’s not been pleasant, some of the unwanted attention. But the focus is now very much on the cars. My focus has very much been on what’s going on on track. And the result [of the Bahrain GP] demonstrates where the whole team’s focus is. And we move onwards,” he concluded.

With the timing of when the email was sent – less than a day after the investigation’s conclusion – there are speculations that someone inside Red Bull wants Christian Horner out. While these rumors give the impression that he doesn’t have the entire team’s support, Horner can rest assured that he has his biggest star’s support.

Max Verstappen puts his faith in Christian Horner’s leadership abilities

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The Dutchman has, in a way, grown up in front of Horner. The two share an incredibly strong bond and, in recent times, success. However, that same bond isn’t there between Horner and Max’s father, Jos. As per BBC Sport, the former F1 driver said, “It cannot continue this way. The situation is not good for the team and is driving people apart.” While he made his stance clear, so did his son.

Despite what’s being said about the Red Bull Team Principal, Max Verstappen opposed his father and put his faith in Horner and his abilities as a boss. When asked if this controversy would hamper Horner’s ability to lead the team, Verstappen ridiculed the notion. “When I look at how Christian operates within the team, he has been an incredible team boss. So absolutely, from the performance side of things, you can’t even question that. So that’s what I’m also dealing with,” he said.

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There are also reports that Verstappen was asked by FIA President Mohammad Ben Sulayem to publicly back Christian Horner. Per Daily Mail, “According to an observer standing close by [when they were conversing], Ben Sulayem told Verstappen: ‘You must publicly back Christian.’” But Verstappen didn’t seem too convinced with the advice.

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Having worked with Horner for almost eight years, the Dutchman ultimately did back Christian Horner and his leadership.

Christian Horner Grilled by Ex-F1 Boss: “Does Anyone Seriously Think That the Employee Made Up Accusations?”

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Written by:

Mahim Suhalka

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Mahim is a senior Formula 1 writer at EssentiallySports. With a Diploma in Sports Management, he ventured into sports journalism for his sheer passion for F1. Mahim has written over 2000 articles during his tenure at ES, and his expertise is in perspective pieces and core sports coverage.
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Edited by:

Akash Pandhare