- Christian Horner has been accused of ‘controlling behaviour’ by a colleague
- The Red Bull chief, 50, faced an all-day grilling over the allegations on Friday
- Bernie Ecclestone has reportedly urged Horner to step down from his role
Bernie Ecclestone has advised Christian Horner to step down from his role as Red Bull team principal amid an investigation into an accusation of ‘inappropriate behaviour’.
The 50-year-old, who is the husband of former Spice Girl Geri Halliwell, is fighting to save his career after the allegations which were made by a female Red Bull employee.
He denies all allegations but had to make his case to a KC, tasked as the internal investigator by the team who are the reigning world champions.
Horner was grilled by a top lawyer in an all-day meeting on Friday and Red Bull are in a race against time to resolve the argument before the start of the new Formula One season, in Bahrain, on March 2.
Now according to F1 Insider, former F1 chief Ecclestone has urged Horner to quit.
Bernie Ecclestone has advised Christian Horner to step down from his role at Red Bull
Horner – who is married to former Spice Girl Geri Halliwell (right) has been accused by a female Red Bull employee of ‘inappropriate behaviour’
It’s said that the 93-year-old has ‘intervened and advised his friend to resign’ in a bid to avoid ‘further damage to himself and his family’.
Ecclestone recommended Horner to Red Bull founder Dietrich Mateschitz when the now team principal was making a name for himself as the boss of Arden in Formula 3000 and looking for a break into F1.
Ecclestone and Horner quickly became close friends, with Horner acting as best man at Ecclestone’s third wedding.
This duty was reciprocated when Horner moved into a higher realm of fame through his marriage to Ms Halliwell.
Mail Sport previously reported how Halliwell is ‘devastated’ over the allegations against her husband, but will stand by him in public.
Horner has said nothing publicly since the hearing. Other informed insiders believe the matter will drag on longer in a case of ‘he says, she says, he says’.
He is determined to carry on in his role, which he has held for 19 years, winning 13 world titles, drivers’ and constructors’, in that time.
Red Bull go into the 2024 season hoping to win a fourth consecutive drivers’ championship with Max Verstappen, and their third straight constructors’ title.
Red Bull will launch their 2024 car on Thursday though it’s not certain whether Horner will be present (pictured alongside triple world champion Max Verstappen last season)
Halliwell is ‘devastated’ over the allegations against her husband, but will stand by him in public
The team hit a very wet Silverstone track for a filming day on Tuesday, ahead of the launch of their new car.
The eagerly awaited Red Bull RB20, the successor to RB19 – F1’s most dominant car ever – will be unveiled at a special launch ceremony at Milton Keynes on Thursday.
It is not yet known for certain whether Horner will be present for the launch.
However, reports have suggested that he was in attendance for Tuesday’s shakedown at Silverstone – where footage has circulated online of Verstappen hitting the track for the first time in 2024.
A spokesperson for Red Bull GmbH said on Monday: ‘After being made aware of certain recent allegations, the company launched an independent investigation.’
They added: ‘The company takes these matters extremely seriously.’
In response to the allegations, Horner said: ‘I completely deny the claims.’
Red Bull have said: ‘Having being made aware of certain recent allegations, the company launched an independent investigation. This process is being carried out by an external specialist barrister.
‘The investigation will be completed as soon as practically possible. It would not be appropriate to comment further at this time.’