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FIA evaluating Horner complaint as matter set for appeal

The FIA is evaluating an official complaint surrounding the behaviour of Red Bull Formula 1 boss Christian Horner, with the company’s dismissal of allegations against him also set for appeal.

Christian Horner, Team Principal, Red Bull Racing

Photo by: Shameem Fahath

While an eight-week long investigation into the matter regarding Horner’s behaviour with a female employee having concluded that there were no grounds to take action, the matter looks far from over.

Multiple media reports have indicated that the female employee, who was suspended as a result of the findings of the investigation, has decided to go ahead and appeal the findings of the probe that was launched by Red Bull’s Austrian energy drinks company.

Furthermore, it is also understood that she has also notified the FIA of a potential breach of motor racing’s code of conducts, which could prompt the governing body to get more involved in the matter.

While the FIA had previously been reluctant to step into what it viewed as an internal employee matter, if there are suggestions that there has been behaviour that breaches regulations, then it may be forced to act.

The FIA has an Anti-Harassment and Non-Discrimination Policy in place that is aimed at ensuring that all FIA persons - including employees - are treated equally, with respect and dignity.

A hotline has been set up where abuse can be reported, with harassment said to include any improper and unwelcome conduct that might reasonably be expected or be perceived to cause offence or humiliation to another person.

Christian Horner, Team Principal, Red Bull Racing

Christian Horner, Team Principal, Red Bull Racing

Photo by: Shameem Fahath

There has been no official confirmation from the FIA of any complaints made, but a short statement issued on Saturday made clear that it was policy for it not to make any statement on matters while they were being looked at.

“At the FIA, enquiries and complaints are received and managed by the Compliance Officer, and the Ethics Committee where appropriate,” an FIA statement declared.

“Both bodies operate autonomously, guaranteeing strict confidentiality throughout the process.

“As a consequence, and in general, we are unable to confirm the receipt of any specific complaint and it is unlikely that we will be able to provide further comment on the complaints that we may receive from any parties.”

Red Bull’s parent energy drinks company has also said nothing about any potential appeals process, with it having said very little since it initially revealed that Horner was under investigation last month.

While the original probe declared that the complaints had been dismissed, that did not prove to be the end of the matter.

Just 24 hours after the decision was made, anonymous email addresses leaked alleged evidence that was at the heart of the investigation – although Red Bull never confirmed the veracity of everything in the dossier.

Furthermore, it is understood that there has been a subsequent investigation launched into the leaking of information to the media since the situation erupted – which includes how journalists found out about the confidential probe in the first place.

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

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

Photo by: Zak Mauger / Motorsport Images



Red Bull motorsport advisor Helmut Marko suggested at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix that there was a risk he could be suspended as a result of this latest investigation, but he has continued in his role.

Horner has remained in his position ever since the investigation began, and has said several times that he hoped the media focus could move on, with the original investigation having been concluded.

Speaking at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, Horner said: “The reality is that there was a grievance that was raised. It was dealt with in the most professional manner by the group, not by Red Bull Racing, but by the owners of Red Bull Racing, Red Bull GmbH, that appointed an independent KC that is one of the most reputable KCs in the land.

“He took time to investigate fully, all of the facts. He interviewed all of the people involved, together with others of interest. He looked at everything. He had all of the facts. And he came to a conclusion where he dismissed the grievance.

“As far as I'm concerned, as far as Red Bull is concerned, we move on and we look to the future. And you know, my wife has been phenomenally supportive throughout this, as have my family. But the intrusion on my family is now enough and we need to move forward and to focus on what we're here for.”

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