On Monday, February 5, it became known that the Red Bull company organized an internal investigation into the actions of the director of the Austrian F1 team, Christian Horner, about whom one of his subordinates complained. At first it seemed that Horner’s guilt, or lack thereof, would be quickly clarified, but by the end of the week the situation had not been clarified. Let’s summarize the main news.
What new things have we learned?
Initially, there was talk that Christian was accused of “banal” sexual harassment: they say, he sent a photo to a colleague, etc. Officially, the essence of the accusations has not yet been revealed, but now a new consensus has formed: they say that Horner did not abuse anyone. Yes, it’s about his relationship with one of the team’s employees, but there was no sympathy there. On the contrary: a subordinate complained about the “insufficiently controlling” behavior of her boss.
Without details it is difficult to understand what exactly was happening, but, apparently, Christian was not satisfied with the employee’s work and began, as they say, to watch his soul, monitor everything, make comments… In general, a tyrannical boss. Admittedly, if this is so, then it is not very clear whether the situation really deserved worldwide publicity and the possible destruction of the champion F1 team. And where does Christian have time for such micromanagement? But the genie is out of the bottle and now everyone wants to know what exactly Horner did or didn’t do.
Marco responded to a candid question about whether he was behind the Horner scandal.
Christian, as at the beginning of the story, assures that he is not to blame for anything and continues to lead the team. Now, since we are not talking about accusations of harassment, but rather disagreements over management methods, Horner’s failure to remove him seems more understandable.
On Friday, February 9, Christian had an eight-hour conversation with a lawyer hired by Red Bull to investigate. Probably, during such a long conversation (or rather an interrogation?), Christian expressed his position in as much detail as possible, covered the background of the problem, etc. We believe the complainant spoke with the attorney even before this. Now the lawyer needs to analyze and compare everything, then, if necessary, hold new conversations and then come to some conclusion.
There was a time when Horner himself tried himself as a judge.
Photo: Lars Baron/Getty Images
Who will replace Horner if he is fired?
Within a week, two people were “named” to replace Christian. The first option is logical and calm, as stated by the current Red Bull sporting director, Jonathan Whitley. The 56-year-old Briton has worked with the team since 2006; Before that, he spent many years at Benetton and Renault, where he started as a junior mechanic. He knows the team very well from within and is an ideal candidate to replace Horner at least temporarily.
The second candidate (according to the press) is one of the current leaders of the consortium, Oliver Mintzlaff. He holds the position of Managing Director of Corporate Projects and New Investments at Red Bull and in this role is also responsible for the Bulls’ entire motorsports programme. Previously, Mintzlaff worked for a long time in football, managing the RB Leipzig club. That’s why he has experience in managing sports teams.
Oliver Mintzlaff in the German Cup final
Photo: Sebastián Widmann/Getty Images
It is simply not clear how a German can become the boss of an F1 team himself: it is strange to be demoted and combining it with the responsibilities of a “big boss” is problematic. Unless Mintzlaff deals solely with global issues and Whitley manages the team on a day-to-day basis. This is similar to the scheme at RB (previously Alpha Tauri), where as of the new season there is a “global” Peter Bayer and a “local” Laurent Mekies.
Helmut Marko? The 80-year-old Austrian is absolutely satisfied with his role as Red Bull’s motorsports advisor. And let’s be honest: making him a team leader isn’t very promising.
This is how the Bulls’ second team changed:
New life for the second Red Bull team in Formula 1: a strange presentation and a new image
Will Horner’s companions escape?
As we expected, there are rumors that the Horner scandal and his possible departure could lead to the subsequent collapse of the champion team Red Bull. This week two opposing rumors have already appeared about the future of the brilliant Adrian Newey. It was initially reported that the engineer’s contract included a clause allowing him to terminate the agreement if Newey left. A source then emerged that now the relationship between Adrian and Christian is not as good as before, and Newey allegedly assured Red Bull that he would stay regardless of the outcome of the investigation. At the same time, we do not rule out that Peter Windsor was close to the truth when he suggested that Newey could ultimately simply end his F1 career.
Another rumor concerns Newey’s deputy, Red Bull technical director Pierre Vache. The BBC reported rumors circulating in the paddock that Vacher may have already made tentative arrangements to join Ferrari. True, the British emphasized that this information should not be trusted at all.
Finally, one of the rumors concerned Whitley: if Horner is fired, but Whitley is not offered his job, then the sporting director could be offended and also think about changing teams. But this is more of a guess and Christian has not yet left his position.
Jonathan Wheatley, Pierre Vache and Christian Horner
Photo: Mark Thompson/Getty Images
When will everything be decided?
At first, everyone was confident that Red Bull would try to complete the investigation as quickly as possible to accurately close the story before the presentation date of the new season: February 15. However, now new presentations have appeared: the situation is confusing, it must be understood well, so that no one drives the horses. Insiders report that it is unlikely that anything will be known after the presentation. Furthermore, it is quite possible that the results of the investigation will not be summarized either before the winter tests (February 21-23) or before the first Grand Prix of the new Formula 1 season (February 29-February 2). March in Bahrain). ).
On the one hand, the desire to conduct a thorough and objective investigation is understandable: the stakes are high and if, for example, Horner is fired for no reason, this could come back to haunt the team. On the other hand, it is absolutely incomprehensible how in such a situation Christian can participate in the presentation (apparently not at all) and in what emotional state the entire team approaches the new championship, when such a scandal is developing inside and you do not understand. whether they will leave the current boss or hire a new one. Meanwhile, competitors are not sleeping and continue to court key employees.
I wonder if Horner could have imagined such a development of events when – let’s imagine – he simply decided to teach a lesson to a subordinate who talked too much on the phone or went out to smoke and drink coffee too often…
Apparently, Christian had a fight with another important person:
Source: Horner’s relationship with Max Verstappen’s father is seriously damaged