Christian Horner under scrutiny following text messages and images leaked to F1 personnel

Christian Horner responds to leak of text messages and images

Christian Horner’s Formula 1 future has once again fallen under scrutiny following the release of a folder allegedly containing his text messages and images leaked to F1 personnel and journalists on Thursday.

Red Bull Racing team boss Christian Horner is still the subject of controversy after being cleared of misconduct allegations a day earlier by Red Bull GmbH, following the company’s internal investigation.

A potentially explosive development unfolded on Thursday when senior Formula 1 figures received an anonymous leak of a document including purported case evidence.

On Thursday, the first day of Christian Horner’s presence in the F1 paddock at the Bahrain Grand Prix, an email with the subject “Christian Horner investigation evidence” was sent to 150 F1 personnel. The email invited the recipients to review documents related to Red Bull’s recent investigation and the outcome which cleared the 51-year old of any wrongdoing.

The documents—which included text messages and images—were leaked via two anonymous email accounts, along with a link to a Google Drive folder that held them.

The recipients included all 10 team bosses, F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali, FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem, and media personnel with permanent accreditation. However, the email was not received by anyone from Red Bull or Red Bull Racing. The only individual on the list who is linked to Red Bull is Jos Verstappen, the father of world champion Max Verstappen.

The authenticity of the content, which consists of 79 screenshots purportedly taken from conversations on digital messaging apps, has not yet been confirmed.

The authenticity of the leaked documents remains in question as Red Bull has not yet attested to their veracity. Still, regardless of Horner’s official clearance, the act of sharing them begs the question of whether an attempt is being made to discredit him.

A female Red Bull Racing employee lodged the initial complaint against Horner, which was never meant to be made public. Rumors have surfaced regarding its disclosure into the public domain, suggesting that some individuals at Red Bull are using it as a malevolent tactical maneuver.

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The situation has also been exacerbated by rumors of internal conflicts between Red Bull’s Austrian energy drink company and its Thai ownership.

The timing of the leak seems deliberate and purposefully intended to damage Horner’s reputation, since it happens at the same time as the investigation’s outcome and the ongoing F1 practice sessions at the season opener.

Earlier in the day, McLaren Racing and Mercedes team bosses Toto Wolff and Zak Brown said that the lack of transparency in Red Bull’s statement, which was made public on Wednesday and cleared Horner of any wrongdoing, left more questions than answers.

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