FEBRUARY 28, 2024

Red Bull to race in Bahrain with Horner saga clarity

Christian Horner is now counting down the hours before he learns whether his Formula 1 career is over or not.

Christian Horner, Belgian GP 2023
© Red Bull

I can't imagine the season will begin without some form of clarity, F1 journalist Louis Dekker, in Bahrain ahead of the start of opening practice on Thursday, told NOS.

Indeed, every insider now agrees that the pressure on Red Bull to resolve the saga involving the accusations of a female staff member is now immense.

We are all asking for an investigation that is fair and transparent. And, if possible, quick, Laurent Mekies, boss of Red Bull's other F1 team RB, told Ouest France newspaper.

We also must remember the presumption of innocence.

F1, the FIA, and Red Bull's 2026 engine partner Ford have all ramped up the pressure for an outcome prior to the Bahrain GP - but the team requires clarity too.

Red Bull can only beat themselves this year, former F1 driver Ralf Schumacher told Bild.

Adrian Newey, along with Max (Verstappen), is the father of the success, and all Adrian wants to do is to build a fast car. He doesn't want all this internal hassle, he said.

He left McLaren because he didn't get along with Ron Dennis, Schumacher warned. Red Bull has to be careful too.

Dutch GP boss Jan Lammers agrees that Red Bull could be left exposed if it bows to the pressures to oust Horner - but then F1's dominant team is left without its highly-successful long-term boss.

You're essentially taking the conductor away from the orchestra, he said. It's about the synergy. Questions are asked and then the right answers come. If you remove one element, the entire structure can disappear.

Horner, 50, was scheduled to return to Bahrain on Wednesday, and Red Bull's print media schedule says he will be available for post-race questions on Saturday.

Sources suggest that once Horner's fate is made public, Red Bull does not intend to share all the details of the accusations. De Telegraaf newspaper refers to transgressive sexual behaviour and, messages with sexual connotations that took place over a significant period of time.

It is a very strange situation, but the difficult thing is that when you don't know everything, you actually know nothing, Lammers explained.

Red Bull and Verstappen are tipped to dominate this weekend in Bahrain, with former F1 driver Ivan Capelli telling Sky Italia: The Horner story is Red Bull's only weakness.