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Hamilton: Horner investigation "a really important moment for F1"

Lewis Hamilton says Red Bull’s investigation into Christian Horner’s conduct towards a female employee is “a really important moment for Formula 1”, in that it now stands “true to our values”.

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes-AMG

Photo by: Sam Bloxham / Motorsport Images

The Mercedes driver was speaking in the pre-event press conference for the 2024 season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix, where Horner is understood to currently be travelling to with the outcome of Red Bull GmbH’s investigation still outstanding.

Several F1 stakeholders – including the championship’s commercial rights holder and motorsport’s governing body – have urged Red Bull to quickly establish the outcome, as has Red Bull’s future engine partner, Ford.

The question put to Hamilton, as well as McLaren’s Lando Norris and Aston Martin driver Fernando Alonso, who declined to comment, specifically referenced Horner remaining in place and being able to speak in an official capacity at pre-season testing during the investigation.

This is in the context of F1’s overall efforts to improve diversity in the championship in recent years.

Asked for his reaction to that situation, Hamilton replied: “It’s a difficult one to answer, naturally.

“I think we always have to do more to try to make the sport and the environment that people get to work in feel safe and inclusive.

“And any allegations have to be taken very seriously.  

Christian Horner, Team Principal, Red Bull Racing

Christian Horner, Team Principal, Red Bull Racing

Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

“Obviously, we don’t know everything that’s gone on. But, it does need to be resolved as it’s hanging over the sport and it will be really interesting to see how it’s dealt with moving forwards in terms of the effect that it may or may not have on the sport moving forwards.

“I think it’s a really important moment for the sport – to make sure that we stand true to our values.”

Norris, speaking before Hamilton answered, said, "It’s got nothing to do with us for the time being."

The McLaren driver added: “The investigation is under way, things are happening. And [it’s] something I’d prefer to stay out of now. Simple as that.”

Red Bull driver Max Verstappen was repeatedly asked about the Horner situation during the same press conference.

Having repeatedly stated that the investigation does not impact either himself or the wider Red Bull team, Verstappen was pressed to say specifically if he was 100% behind Horner and the way the Briton runs the squad.

Electing not to do so, he instead replied that he is “trusting the process”.

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing and Christian Horner, Team Principal, Red Bull Racing

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing and Christian Horner, Team Principal, Red Bull Racing

Photo by: Simon Galloway / Motorsport Images

“That’s what’s happening right now,” the Dutchman added. “That’s the thing that I mentioned with it [during earlier answers].

“But besides that, when you talk about performance, it’s of course very important that everyone sticks together.”

Verstappen was subsequently asked to explain what he knows about the process Horner has faced and given what he might know if he still has full confidence in his team principal.

“I do not want to get into that,” he said.

“Because it’s not my case anyway and I don’t want to be involved with that. As a team we do, yeah, trust that process and we just have to be patient because there’s no need to start saying things, start screaming things out loud.

“You have to be patient. I think I’ve learned that over the years anyway.

Verstappen went on to say, in the context of the ongoing situation, that Horner is very important to Red Bull’s current success, but that not much would happen to any squad in one or two races if a team boss disappeared, as change happens over the longer term in F1.

But he stressed that Red Bull is not thinking in such terms right now and that team morale is positive.

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