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Alleged Horner messages leaked after Red Bull F1 investigation clears him of wrongdoing

The controversy surrounding the investigation into Red Bull boss Christian Horner took a twist on Thursday when what was claimed to be key evidence was leaked to Formula 1 personnel.

Dr. Helmut Marko, Consultant, Red Bull Racing, Christian Horner, Team Principal, Red Bull Racing

Photo by: Erik Junius

Almost exactly 24 hours on from Horner being cleared of wrongdoing following allegations made by a female employee, a pair of anonymous email addresses distributed a dossier of documents that they alleged were related to the case.

The emails, which contained a link to a Google Drive file containing the documents, stated: “Following Red Bull’s recent investigation and statements you will be interested to see the materials attached.”

The email was sent to more than 100 people, including senior figures within the Formula 1 organisation, and the FIA, as well as the current team principals and permanently accredited media. Jos Verstappen, the father of Red Bull driver Max Verstappen, was included among the recipients.

Red Bull has not confirmed whether or not the documents are real or have been falsified.

While the veracity of the documents is unclear, the manner in which the dossier was widely distributed to the F1 fraternity for maximum impact has indicated that there remain individuals who are eager to discredit Horner despite him being cleared.

Christian Horner, Team Principal, Red Bull Racing

Christian Horner, Team Principal, Red Bull Racing

Photo by: Erik Junius

While the Horner investigation was prompted by a complaint from a female employee, the nature of it being blown into the public domain was said to suggest that it was being used by certain individuals as a power play.

There have been suggestions of a difference of opinion between Red Bull’s Thai majority owners and the Austrian energy drinks company element, although nothing has been said in public.

The sending of the anonymous emails, just 24 hours after the ending of the investigation and during a time when F1 cars were running, appears to be an attempt to discredit Horner.

In a statement on the situation, Horner said: "I won't comment on anonymous speculation, but to reiterate, I have always denied the allegations.

"I respected the integrity of the independent investigation and fully cooperated 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."

Earlier in the day, rival F1 teams had urged Formula One Management and the FIA to get involved in ensuring there was greater transparency over the way that Red Bull had dealt with the matter.

McLaren CEO Zak Brown said: “I've read this statement. I think, from what I've seen, there continues to be a lot of rumours, speculation, and questions.

"I think the sanctioning body has a responsibility and authority to our sport, to our fans, and I think to all of us in Formula 1… I think they need to make sure that things have been fully transparent with them."

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