Christian Horner saga is “damaging the sport” of F1, says FIA President Ben Sulayem

BAHRAIN, BAHRAIN - FEBRUARY 29: Oracle Red Bull Racing Team Principal Christian Horner talks on the phone in the Paddock prior to practice ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Bahrain at Bahrain International Circuit on February 29, 2024 in Bahrain, Bahrain. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)
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FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem said the backlash following Red Bull team principal Christian Horner’s investigation is “damaging” Formula 1.

Horner was investigated after being reported by a female employee due to “inappropriate behavior,” but was cleared of any wrongdoing by an independent barrister.

However, a Google Drive folder containing the alleged evidence used in the investigation was leaked and emailed to important figures within the sport like Ben Sulayem, F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali, Mercedes boss Toto Wolff, and others, including accredited journalists.

The authenticity of such evidence has not been verified yet.

Speaking with the Financial Times after meeting with Horner on Friday, Ben Sulayem said that the situation is “damaging the sport… This is damaging on a human level.”

Contrary to earlier reports, Ben Sulayem said the FIA has no plans to conduct its own investigation into the matter, and added that it was necessary to “protect our sport from all of this.”

“It is the beginning of the season. F1 is becoming so popular… We just need to enjoy the beginning of the season. Look at the competition. Why do we overshadow it with negativity?”

When asked about the contents of the Google Drive folder, Horner said he would not comment on “anonymous speculation” and reiterated his denial of the allegations.

“I respected the integrity of the independent investigation and fully co-operated with it every step of the way.

“It was a thorough and fair investigation, conducted by an independent specialist barrister, and it has concluded dismissing the complaint made. I remain fully focused on the start of the season,” he said.

Both Red Bull and Red Bull Racing (the F1 team) declined to comment on the matter, and so did Ford, which is planning to re-enter the sport with whose CEO had initially criticised the way the investigation was conducted.