Martin Brundle reacts after Christian Horner cleared of wrongdoing by Red Bull investigation

Christian Horner was cleared by an independent lawyer  (Reuters)
Christian Horner was cleared by an independent lawyer (Reuters)

Martin Brundle and Damon Hill have given their immediate reactions to the news that Christian Horner has been cleared of wrongdoing following an independent investigation commissioned by Red Bull.

Horner was accused of inappropriate behaviour by a female colleague, who lodged an official complaint with the organisation earlier this month. He continued his role as Red Bull Racing’s team principal while an investigation was conducted by an externally appointed lawyer.

On Wednesday, Red Bull GmbH issued a statement which confirmed that “the grievance has been dismissed” and that the complainant had a right to appeal. It added: “Red Bull is confident that the investigation has been fair, rigorous and impartial. The investigation report is confidential and contains the private information of the parties and third parties who assisted in the investigation, and therefore we will not be commenting further out of respect for all concerned.”

Speaking on Sky Sports ahead of the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix, which begins with first practice on Thursday, Brundle said that the verdict brought a decisive conclusion to the saga.

“That statement from Red Bull is drawing a solid line underneath the whole thing,” Brundle said. “I’ve just read it, but that appears to be their position.”

He added: “Red Bull the parent company have drawn a very thick and firm line... they’re clear, they’ve done a deep investigation, they’ve talked for hours and many pages of documents have been generated. Case complete, over.

“I find this a very curious business. We knew no facts whatsoever about this story, lots of echoes, rumours which swirl around and become facts... so you can’t comment. We can only go by that statement. A line drawn underneath it. Let’s see if anything else comes out of it now from third parties.”

Martin Brundle, centre, and Jenson Button interviewing Christian Horner, right (Getty Images)
Martin Brundle, centre, and Jenson Button interviewing Christian Horner, right (Getty Images)

On the ramifications of the case on Red Bull going forwards, Brundle said: “I haven’t spoken to Christian at any point through this. Making no comment on what may or may not have happened, mud sticks. It’s been a damaging story for Red Bull, for Formula 1, for Christian.

“The team has momentum, an incredible car and people. I don’t think it’ll have an instant impact. Whether there’s a bit of chaos, a power struggle going on behind the scenes, we’ll have to wait and see.”

Fellow F1 analyst Hill speculated whether there would be questions asked about the process Red Bull undertook.

“There will be people who say that that is the organisation judging themselves, and not being exposed to other external influence,” said Hill. “But I think you’re right, they convinced themselves they had to do it. They’re satisfied, their man is intact, but they’re carrying on in the knowledge they’re doing the right thing.”

Sky Sports F1 pundit Naomi Schiff also commented on the news, and praised Red Bull’s handling of the matter.

“Red Bull is a huge company, it’s a corporate matter, an investigation, and handled independently or not, you’d assume they took this with the utmost seriousness, and they handled it fairly,” Schiff said. “Because it comes at the risk of this going completely wrong, if it’s found out that that is not the case. I believe they’ve done everything they can.

“What they say, there’s a level of discretion because it involves the private lives of people and that doesn’t need to be exposed to the world. We hope that’s clear now and it will not go further unless it has to. You don’t want this looming over the sport.”

Horner was flying to Bahrain on Wednesday, as he prepared to lead Red Bull Racing’s bid to retain the F1 constructors’ and drivers’ championships.