RED BULL chief Christian Horner has been urged to resign by ex-F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone following allegations made by a female staffer, F1 sources claim.
Horner, 50, battled to rescue his career during an eight-hour D-Day grilling last Friday following the complaints of “inappropriate and controlling behaviour”.
The 93-year-old billionaire former chief of F1 has allegedly now got involved and advised Horner to step down as Red Bull team principal.
Sources told F1 Insider that Ecclestone warned his long-term friend that resigning would save him and his family from further damage caused by the fallout of the scandal.
Ecclestone’s representatives have been reached for comment.
The results of the crunch talks on Friday have still not been made public – meaning Horner’s future at Red Bull still hangs in the balance.
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However, F1 insiders do not “expect him to survive in his role” at the team, following the pending investigation, BBC Sport reports.
It raises the question of who would take over the helm of the all-conquering racing team of world champion Max Verstappen.
F1 was rocked a week ago by the sudden news that the sport’s longest-standing team principal had been placed under investigation by Red Bull’s Austria-based parent company.
It has allegedly compiled a “dossier of incriminating material” regarding “inappropriate and controlling behaviour” towards one female female, The Telegraph reported.
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Horner has reportedly referred to the allegations as “nuts” and said publicly: “I completely deny these claims.”
The Red Bull Racing boss, who has led the Austrian team since its formation in 2005, was quizzed by an independent barrister in a private location late into the afternoon on Friday.
Horner forced a smile as he was picked up in a chauffeur-driven car from his North London home ahead of the critical hearing.
But an F1 source told The Sun last week that “Christian has not been sacked or asked to resign and he is not going to resign”.
They also revealed the investigation is nowhere near it’s end – with it potentially dragging into the new F1 season.
The insider said: “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.
“People are expecting this to be over before the start of the F1 season, but that just isn’t going to happen.”
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.
Former racing driver Horner’s Spice Girl wife Geri Halliwell, 51, is understood to be standing by her husband, who she married in 2015.
She has told pals: “Christian has done nothing wrong.”
Horner is said to have privately vowed to his friends he will “clear his name and come through this,” a source told the Daily Mail last week.
“She will stand by him and be at his side just as much as she always has been. She never misses a race and that will not change.”
However, the scandal engulfing her husband has blown a “Grand Canyon-sized crack” right in the middle of her “super-perfect, super-posh life,” another source claimed.
Red Bull has won seven Formula One world drivers’ championships and six world constructors’ titles under Horner’s leadership.
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 motor sport in the 2024 New Year’s Honours List.
Ahead of the probe into Horner’s conduct, there were reports of an unrelated internal power struggle waging within Red Bull.
Rumours of issues between the team’s leadership have swirled since the death of billionaire co-founder Dietrich Mateschitz in 2022 and the tea drafted a new board of directors.
Former RB Leipzig CEO Oliver Mintzlaff was appointed chief executive.
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Despite Red Bull enjoying its most successful season in F1 history in 2023, there was speculation of a rift between Horner and Helmut Marko – Red Bull GmBH’s motorsport advisor.
Rumours even went as far as to suggest Horner was determined to get rid of Marko, 80, from the team.
A look at Christian Horner’s life and career
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.
1973 – Born in Leamington Spa, Warwickshire
1991 – Wins a Formula Renault scholarship after impressing in karting races
1993-1997 – Competed in a host of competitions including British Formula Three, British Formula Two, and Formula 3000
1997 – Founded and developed the F3000 team Arden
1999 – Retired from driving and continued developing the Arden team
2005 – Appointed head of Red Bull team, becoming the youngest ever team principal at that time
2009 – Wins his first races as team principal with Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber
2010 – Wins the Constructors’ Championship and Drivers’ Championship with Vettel – the first of four doubles in a row
2013 – Has a daughter with ex-wife Beverly Allen shortly before the couple split
2014 – Gets engaged to Spice Girls member Geri Halliwell
2015 – Marries Halliwell in Woburn, Bedfordshire
2017 – Horner and Halliwell welcome their son
2021 – Wins another Drivers’ Championship with Max Verstappen, beating Lewis Hamilton on the final lap of the season
2022-23 – Red Bull win the Drivers’ Championship and Constructors’ Championship two years in a row
Source: Motorsport - thesun.co.uk