Christian Horner looked like a man who’d not slept a wink in 12 days… but Red Bull chief didn’t shy away from grilling

Horner revealed what the support had been like behind the scenes

 

 

CHRISTIAN HORNER faced the music for the first time since the bombshell dropped 12 days ago.

 

And he looked like a man who had not slept a wink of sleep since.

 

 

Christian Horner made his first public appearances since Red Bull launched an internal investigation into his conduct

 

 

Horner was speaking at Red Bull’s 2024 car launchCredit: Oracle Red Bull Racing

 

 

Red Bull will be hoping their car can land a third constructors title in a rowCredit: Reuters

 

 

Horner has been in charge of Red Bull since 2005Credit: AP

 

Dressed in his usual attire of jeans, white shirt covered by a jumper and dark jacket but unusually he wore glasses.

 

He sat on a plastic chair surrounded by journalists who were under the instruction not to press the 50-year-old about the internal investigation he has been subjected to.

 

But this is Horner’s team – the one he has helped build since he first walked through the door here in Milton Keynes in 2005. He would not be pigeonholed.

 

To Horner’s sizeable credit, he did not baulk at the carefully-worded questions designed to elicit as much information as possible without straying into the red.

 

 

 

He answered everything he was faced with, repeating four times that he denied all the allegations made against him by a female colleague.

 

He spoke softly and calmly and he even made a joke at the end of the media session where he asked what we thought about the new car – there had not been a single question about it.

 

The matter is out of his hands and being taken care of at the energy drink’s HQ in Austria after they chose to start their own private investigation.

 

The message from Horner is clear – that he has nothing to hide, this is his team and they were launching their challenger for 2024 in their Milton Keynes HQ looking to defend their titles.

 

 

It would have been easy for him to cancel. Sickness, or legal advice, or blown tyre on the motorway – whatever the excuse.

 

Or indeed for his Red Bull racing team to do a ‘digital only car launch’ as rivals Mercedes had done the day before – stopping themselves from an inquest into Lewis Hamilton’s sudden decision to defect to Ferrari in 2025.

 

Christian Horner SPOTTED at top secret Red Bull test run as he awaits decision in ‘inappropriate behaviour’ probe

 

No, Horner and his Red Bull team were committed to this launch and he was determined to be there.

 

As he does the preseason testing in Bahrain – and the season opener at the same track on March 2nd.

 

 

He said: “Look, I think moments of uncertainty brings us together and I’ve never seen a team more together and supporting than it is.

 

“Everybody’s focused on one thing, which is the performance of that car to go out and defend both the world titles that we’ve worked so hard to achieve over the last couple of years.

 

“So the car is what everybody is invested in and I look forward to seeing it in action in Bahrain next week.”

 

When asked if he expected to be in his position for that first race, he added: “I am confident in the process and working with the process and absolutely deny any of the allegation that has been made.”

 

 

Horner has achieved so much success, winning 13 world titles – six constructors and seven drivers’ championships – in 19 years.

 

He has done so by being diligent. A taskmaster who expects the same commitment from his staff.

 

However, perhaps pointedly so, he chose to highlight how he has managed the 1,500 staff that work across their sprawling campus.

 

He said: “It’s a big team. It’s one of the biggest sporting teams in the world and it has always been one of our strengths – the way we work.

 

 

“They enjoy working here and they share a passion and they share in that passion for going racing and racing against some such fierce competitors.”

 

 

CHRISTIAN Horner is among the most well-known names in Formula One having helped build Red Bull into one of the biggest teams in the sport.

 

 

 

During the on-stage presentation, former F1 star David Coulthard reminded Horner about jumping into a swimming pool with only a superman cape to protect his modesty.

 

It was of course a reflection on the team’s first podium that Coulthard had taken in Monaco in 2006 with Horner losing a sportsman’s bet that he didn’t think the Scot would achieve such a triumph.

 

High jinks in 2005, perhaps that is no longer in keeping with F1, or indeed society, in 2024.

 

 

For the meantime, Horner remains in place and has the support of his drivers.

 

World champion Max Verstappen says he is not worried about the team being distracted.

 

“No,” he said, “I feel that everyone is very focused and very motivated. It was nice the day before we had the filming day, when the car comes together.

 

“To see so many people fully focused on their little baby. Everyone is very excited to get to Bahrain.

 

 

“Everyone is really enjoying their role, everyone is very proud of what they have achieved, and everyone is very much looking forward to the new season.

 

“[My relationship with Christian is] very good. We’ve seen each other quite a few times. I’ve been on the simulator.

 

“He was also there when we were filming. We’ve achieved a lot of things together so that doesn’t change suddenly.”

 

 

Gideon Canice

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