Christian Horner’s accuser targets Red Bull return to work as she awaits appeal outcome

Christian Horner’s suspended female colleague – who accused the Red Bull F1 boss of inappropriate behaviour – wants to work for the team again as she awaits the outcome of her appeal, say industry sources.

The Independent also understands that Horner’s accuser is “in it for the long haul”, and the woman is set to take her case to an employment tribunal should her appeal fail. She has also not received any update from the FIA, after she filed a complaint about Horner’s behaviour to F1’s governing body.

The female complainant was suspended, on full pay, by Red Bull Racing a matter of days after a three-week probe, conducted by an external KC at the request of the team’s parent company Red Bull GmbH, cleared Horner of any wrongdoing. However, The Independent has learned that she is targeting a return to work at the F1 world championship-winning team

Horner, 50, has always denied the claims made against him and was allowed to continue in his role as Red Bull Racing team principal while the investigation was ongoing.

An industry source said: “She remains resolute and is in it for the long haul. She’s holding her council for now and wants the matter dealt with privately.”

Should her appeal fail, an employment tribunal would potentially see previously confidential information enter the public domain. It is also understood that the woman worked with Horner after the complaint against him was raised at the end of last year.

Red Bull have been approached for comment.

A day after Horner was cleared by Red Bull GmbH, WhatsApp messages – some of a sexually suggestive nature – allegedly between Horner and the complainant were leaked to F1 personnel and members of the media.

Horner refused to comment on what he called “anonymous speculation” and the veracity of the texts have not been confirmed.

Christian Horner has always denied the allegations of ‘inappropriate behaviour’ (Getty Images)
Christian Horner has always denied the allegations of ‘inappropriate behaviour’ (Getty Images)

Speaking most recently on the saga that has engulfed the world of Formula 1 in the last two months, Horner demanded the end of the “intrusion on his family.”

Horner is married to Spice Girl pop star Geri Halliwell, who has appeared alongside her husband in a show of solidarity at the opening two races of the season in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia.

“Obviously it’s been a very trying period,” Horner said on 7 March. “I’m married and have three children, and when that intrusion involves your children, and your marriage - and I’m very thankful I have a beautiful family and a very supportive wife.

Horner’s wife Geri Halliwell appeared alongside the Red Bull boss at the season-opening race in Bahrain (Getty Images)
Horner’s wife Geri Halliwell appeared alongside the Red Bull boss at the season-opening race in Bahrain (Getty Images)

“I’m the only one who has been named in this. So of course, it’s very trying. When there’s children involved, family, parents… it’s not pretty.

“The reality is there was a grievance that was raised, it was dealt with in the most professional manner by the group, not Red Bull Racing but the parent company, they appointed one of the top barristers in the land. He looked at everything. He looked at all the facts and he looked at the case and dismissed the grievance.

“As far as I’m concerned, my wife has been phenomenally supportive throughout this. But the intrusion on my family is now enough. We need to move forward. Obviously there’s been an awful lot of coverage surrounding this. But one has to go back to the basis that a grievance was raised, it was investigated, and it was dismissed.

“It’s been of great interest to different elements of the media, for different reasons. I think it is time now to draw a line under it.”

The situation has also unearthed details of a power struggle within Red Bull, which has led to questions raised about Max Verstappen’s future at the team.