MARCH 2, 2024

F1, FIA to decide if Horner action required

As the Christian Horner saga rolls on, he met privately and separately with F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali and FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem in Bahrain on Friday.

Helmut Marko, Christian Horner, Bahrain GP 2024
© Red Bull

Domenicali and the FIA boss then got together later on, to discuss current affairs in Formula 1 at the start of 2024 - and the Horner scandal has become the most pressing issue.

Kronen Zeitung thinks Horner may even be in breach of Article 12.2.1.c - harming the interests of motorsport with the scandal surrounding his alleged affair with a female staff member, believed to be his former PA.

I think the sanctioning body has a responsibility and authority to our sport and to our fans, McLaren CEO Zak Brown charged.

Fellow fierce Horner-critic Toto Wolff added, according to Kurier newspaper: "They have to think about what they do now with that information. But we want to concentrate on racing now.

We've been talking non-stop about this topic for weeks.

Although cleared of wrongdoing by Red Bull's parent company Red Bull GmbH, the scandal took a dramatic twist in Bahrain with the leak of texts, photos and videos to the entire F1 media contingent and bosses.

I was completely confused and surprised that the documents have been leaked, Dr Helmut Marko told Sport Bild. I haven't looked at them myself.

What is clear is that an individual or a faction is trying to destroy Horner's professional and personal life. Jos Verstappen, father of Red Bull driver Max, said in Bahrain: Yes, I also received that email (the leak).

Max, after racing to pole on Friday, said the affair is not our business.

Listen, when I look at how Christian operates within the team, he has been an incredible team boss, said the Dutchman. "So absolutely, from the performance side of things, you can't even question that.

He's fully committed to the team here, also here for the performance - probably a little bit distracted. But like I said before, we just focus on the performance side of things. That's how we all work together.

Former F1 team boss Gunther Steiner, however, thinks the affair would definitely be a big distraction for Red Bull early in the new season.

For the management, the topic is certainly more important than the race weekend itself, he told Sky Deutschland. But there is such good sport going on here that we shouldn't have to be referring to these topics.

It is believed Horner's wife Geri Halliwell was travelling to Bahrain at the very time the email leak hit inboxes - and could even make a public appearance on Saturday.

It's obviously a tough time, a tired looking Horner told the Dutch broadcaster NOS. It's obviously a lot of noise, but I am fully focused on my work here in Bahrain and on my family.