Red Bull F1 boss Christian Horner grilled for eight hours in crunch meeting over ‘controlling behaviour’ allegations


Formula One team boss Christian Horner was grilled for eight hours today over alleged “controlling” behaviour.

The Red Bull Racing chief — married to Spice Girl Geri Halliwell — was questioned by a barrister late into the afternoon at a private location.

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The 50-year-old looked grim-faced earlier as he was being whisked to the crunch meeting.

An F1 source said: “Christian has been in there, and having his chat which has been ongoing for many hours. We are hoping for a swift resolution to this but that may be unlikely.”

The source went on: “This is not a trial and we are not going to have an answer and an outcome by the end of the day.

“This is not something that is going to be rectified that quickly.

“But Christian has not been sacked or asked to resign and he is not going to resign.

“We are in an investigation and we have to respect the integrity of the investigation, which means ­letting it run its course.”

The Sun told on Tuesday how Horner was being investigated over allegations of “inappropriate behaviour” towards a female colleague.

He was seen as a chauffeur-driven car picked him up from his North London home at 7.15am.

Unshaven Horner tried to force a smile after clambering into the back of the BMW with a briefcase.

Red Bull brought in independent lawyers following the complaint.

The meeting is understood to have taken place in London rather than near the racing team’s base in Milton Keynes or Red Bull’s HQ in Salzburg, Austria.

Late this afternoon, Horner was still being quizzed after the meeting got off to an early start.

Horner, who runs the all-conquering F1 team of world champion Max Verstappen — arch rival of British favourite Sir Lewis Hamilton — has denied the controlling behaviour claims.

The allegations are said to centre on concerns about a strict work regime and do not include sexual impropriety.

Horner, who has been Red Bull Racing’s “principal” since its founding in 2005, was quizzed by an external barrister hired by the Austrian company.

Red Bull said it began an inquiry after being made aware of the complaint, understood to have been lodged in Austria.

Today, BBC Sport reported insiders had told them that they did not expect Horner to survive the furore.

Staff at the team’s UK base in Milton Keynes have said they had no knowledge of the allegations when approached.

The probe threatens to overshadow the start of the new F1 season — with the first practice sessions for the Bahrain Grand Prix taking place on February 29.

However, insiders say a decision on Horner’s future at the helm of the team was unlikely to be reached following today’s first meeting with the barrister.

Our source added: “People are expecting this to be over before the start of the F1 season, but that just isn’t going to happen.

“It will be a longer process than that as we have to conduct the investigation thoroughly.”

Horner has reportedly referred to the allegations as “nuts” and said publicly: “I completely deny these claims.”

Wife Geri, 51, is understood to be standing by her husband and has told pals: “Christian has done nothing wrong.”

Former racing driver Horner and Geri married at a church ceremony in Woburn, Beds, in 2015 after a year-long engagement.

They have a seven-year-old son together and Horner has a daughter from a previous relationship.

Red Bull Racing has won seven Formula One world drivers’ championships and six world ­constructors’ titles since the team’s formation under Horner 19 years ago.

Last season, the team won 21 of the 22 races on the global F1 tour, and Verstappen, 26, won the drivers’ crown.

Horner was awarded a CBE for services to motorsport in the 2024 New Year’s Honours List.

Red Bull Racing declined to comment today.

In a statement earlier this week, it said it was probing “certain recent allegations”.

A spokesman added: “This process, which is already under way, is being carried out by an external specialist barrister.”

Horner remains one of the most influential figures within Red Bull and Formula One.

If he gets the chop, insiders expect him to be replaced by an executive from the Austrian side of Red Bull.

A likely favourite would be German businessman Oliver Mintzlaff, former head of RB Leipzig football club.

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