Text messages and photos allegedly sent by Red Bull boss Christian Horner to a female employee are LEAKED after he was cleared of misconduct ahead of Bahrain Grand Prix

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Written By Maya Cantina
  • Christian Horner was cleared of ‘coercive behaviour towards a female employee’
  • But texts and photos the Red Bull principal allegedly sent have now been leaked 
  • He urged Red Bull ‘have never been stronger’ ahead of the Bahrain Grand Prix

Christian Horner’s career in Formula One was plunged into fresh crisis on Thursday night when a tranche of WhatsApp exchanges allegedly between him and a close female employee were leaked.

The leak of 79 screenshots of messages and pictures were emailed to key figures in the sport ahead of the Bahrain Grand Prix. The sender was anonymous.

The bombshell leak comes a day after the 50-year-old husband of former Spice Girl Geri Halliwell was cleared of ‘coercive behaviour’ in an internal inquiry conducted by Red Bull’s parent company in Salzburg. 

The Englishman was free to stay on as team principal of the world-championship winning team on a salary of £8million a year.

The leak, containing hundreds of WhatsApp messages, was sent to leading F1 figures, including FIA president Mohammad Ben Sulayem and F1 chief executive Stefano Domenicali. All the team principals were also copied in, along with star driver Max Verstappen’s father Jos.

Christian Horner was cleared of ‘coercive behaviour towards female employee’ on Wednesday

Alleged text messages 50-year-old Horner sent to the female employee have been leaked

Alleged text messages 50-year-old Horner sent to the female employee have been leaked 

Red Bull launched the probe on Horner, husband of ex-Spice Girl Geri Halliwell, on February 5

Red Bull launched the probe on Horner, husband of ex-Spice Girl Geri Halliwell, on February 5

Throughout the probe, he had maintained his innocence and insisted he was going nowhere

Throughout the probe, he had maintained his innocence and insisted he was going nowhere

Shortly after messages and photographs were leaked, Horner released a statement which read: ‘I will not comment on anonymous speculation, but to reiterate I have always denied the allegations.

‘I respected the integrity of the independent investigation and fully cooperated with it every step of the way.

‘It was a thorough and fair investigation conducted by an independent specialist barrister, and it has concluded dismissing the complaint made.

‘I remain fully focused on the start of the season.’

The world champion team’s parent company Red Bull GmbH in Salzburg, who launched the probe on February 5, said on Wednesday: ‘The independent investigation into the allegations made against Mr Horner is complete, and Red Bull can confirm that the grievance has been dismissed.

‘The complainant has a right of appeal. 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. Red Bull will continue striving to meet the highest workplace standards.’

Former popstar Geri (left) had been devastated by the jolt to their lives caused by the claims

Former popstar Geri (left) had been devastated by the jolt to their lives caused by the claims

Horner broke his silence on the concluded investigation on Thursday morning as Red Bull geared up for the Bahrain Grand Prix.

Horner told Sky Sports on Thursday morning: ‘I’m just pleased that the process is over, I can’t comment about it.

‘The focus is very much now on the Grand Prix and the season ahead and to defend both of our titles.’

When asked if he felt this was the end of the matter, the Red Bull chief replied: ‘I can’t give you any further comment but the process has been conducted and concluded. I’m pleased to be here in Bahrain and look on to the season ahead. 

‘The unity in the team has never been stronger.’

Horner, who remained silent throughout the probe, has won 13 world championships since heading the team as a 31-year-old in 2005. He was then the youngest team principal on the grid, yet is now its longest-serving. 

Reigning world champion Max Verstappen was quizzed ahead of the Bahrain Grand Prix over whether Red Bull’s probe into Horner had impacted or altered the team’s preparations for the season. 

The Dutchman, insisting that his focus has not been altered, replied: ‘It doesn’t. I’m very focused on just the performance of the car and myself. 

Horner embraces three-time champion Verstappen in Bahrain ahead of the 2024 curtain raiser

Horner embraces three-time champion Verstappen in Bahrain ahead of the 2024 curtain raiser

Max Verstappen urged that he and Red Bull had not altered their preparations during the probe

Max Verstappen urged that he and Red Bull had not altered their preparations during the probe

THE BATTLE OF HORNER’S LIFE

Feb 5 Red Bull’s parent company GmbH Confirm Horner is under investigation following an accusation of ‘inappropriate behaviour’.

Feb 9 Horner is questioned by a KC for eight hours in London.

Feb 15 Horner appears at Red Bull’s car launch and vows ‘it is business as normal.’

Feb 20 He flies to Bahrain for testing week despite the ongoing investigation.

Feb 22 Horner refuses to comment on the investigation at a press conference, but asks for ‘a conclusion as soon as possible’.

Feb 28 Red Bull GmbH announces that ‘the grievance has been dismissed’.

Feb 29 Horner breaks silence on the investigation, insisting Red Bull have ‘never been stronger’ after he was cleared.

Feb 29 Text messages and photographs allegedly sent by Horner are leaked.

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‘Hopefully it will be resolved very soon. It’s a whole team effort that everyone has to stick together and work to more success, so that’s why it’s important to get everything resolved very soon.

‘(Horner) is very important otherwise he wouldn’t have been in that position for such a long time.’

Former Spice Girl sensation Geri, mother of their seven-year-old son Monty, stood resolutely by Horner throughout the ordeal. She is said to be ‘devastated’ by the jolt the investigation has had on their lives. 

It is understood she could join him in Bahrain to watch the start of the 2024 Formula One campaign.

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