Martin Brundle demands ‘absolute conclusion’ after Christian Horner ‘leaks’

Martin Brundle has called for the latest allegations surrounding Christian Horner to be brought to an “absolute conclusion” with the Red Bull team principal’s future once again in the spotlight on the eve of the Formula One season in Bahrain.

Horner was cleared to continue as Red Bull team boss following an internal investigation into allegations of “inappropriate behaviour” from a female colleague - but leaked WhatsApp messages and pictures on Thursday, some of a sexually suggestive nature, led Horner to reiterate his full denial of the allegations.

Horner, who is married to Spice Girl member Geri Halliwell, met with FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem and F1 chief executive Stefano Domenicali on Friday after returning to the paddock in Bahrain ahead of the first race of the 2024 season this weekend.

Speaking on Thursday, Brundle said the verdict to Red Bull’s investigation had “drawn a solid line underneath the whole thing” - but the leaked material, sent by an anonymous source and allegedly showing conversations between Horner and the complainant, have overshadowed the start to the F1 season.

Once again appearing on Sky Sports following the end of practice on Friday, Brundle said he was “very sad” that Formula One was making headlines for the wrong reasons and called for the latest allegations to be dealt with.

“I think it’s indisputable that Formula One is all over the front pages, all over the internet, throughout the world, and it’s not about the racing or who is going to win this grand prix,” Brundle said.

“I think it’s unquestionable that it’s not good for F1, what’s going on, and I do believe that some actions need to be taken to move this along and to bring this to an absolute conclusion.

“As I said earlier in the week, it feels like the beginning of the story rather than the end of it. But we will have to wait and see. All allegations have been denied. It’s just a horrible situation, whichever way you look at it.”

Martin Brundle says he is ‘sad’ that the start of the F1 season has been overshadowed (Getty Images for Fox Sports)
Martin Brundle says he is ‘sad’ that the start of the F1 season has been overshadowed (Getty Images for Fox Sports)

Brundle has not spoken to Horner, but the Red Bull boss addressed members of the press when he arrived to the paddock on Friday. Horner said he would not “comment on anonymous speculation from unknown sources” and that he remained focussed on racing ahead of the start of qualifying later on Friday.

Neither F1 or the FIA have commented on the allegations, but Ben Sulayem was set to discuss the matter with Domenicali on Friday. Horner could yet find himself in hot water with the sport’s governing body, the FIA, due to Formula 1’s regulations. Other team bosses, such as Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff, have called  F1and the FIA to review the investigation conducted by Red Bull.

Naomi Schiff, Brundle’s Sky Sports colleague and former W Series driver, also gave her reaction to the latest developments.

“I echo a lot of Martin’s sentiments and I think coming into the first race of the season where there has been so much excitement around it, it’s really a shame this is casting a shadow over the weekend,” she said.

“But at the end of the day, we have to remember it’s an internal, corporate investigation. We don’t have all the information. So we leave it at that.

“It’s also a human story and there is some sadness to all of this. There are people who are going to be affected by this - this matter should not have been dealt with in the way it has been dealt with.”