Horner-Red Bull saga: A timeline of events


The story surrounding allegations levelled at Christian Horner has taken the spotlight away from Red Bull’s stunning on-track performance at the start of the season.

With so many twists and turns to the saga, here is a timeline of the story so far.

This will be updated across the course of the developing story.

February 5 – Reports emerge of investigation

A report by Dutch publication De Telegraaf emerged revealing Red Bull GmbH had launched an investigation into allegations of inappropriate behaviour by Horner.

Details were scarce and a statement released by Red Bull offered no further explanation.

“After being made aware of certain recent allegations, the company launched an independent investigation,” the statement read.

“This process, which is already underway, is being carried out by an external specialist barrister. The company takes these matters extremely seriously and the investigation will be completed as soon as practically possible. It would not be appropriate to comment further at this time.”

February 9 – Meeting with barrister

Horner attended a long-lasting meeting with the external barrister mentioned in Red Bull’s statement.

The meeting, held in London, found no resolution on the day.

February 18-19 – F1 and FIA statements

Given the seriousness of the situation, F1 and the FIA both made statements.

F1’s announcement read: “We have noted that Red Bull has instigated an independent investigation into internal allegations at Red Bull Racing.

“We hope that the matter will be clarified at the earliest opportunity, after a fair and thorough process and we will not comment further at this time.”

The governing body followed up by stating: “In relation to the independent investigation currently being undertaken by Red Bull GmbH, the FIA reiterates that until such time as the investigation has concluded and the outcome is known, we will not be commenting further.

“The FIA remains committed to upholding the highest standards of integrity, fairness and inclusivity within the sport.”

February 25 – Ford demand resolution

Red Bull enters into an engine partnership with US giant Ford when the new power unit regulations come into force from 2026.

In a letter written to Red Bull by Ford CEO Jim Farley, he said: “As we have indicated previously, without satisfactory response, Ford’s values are non-negotiable.

“It is imperative that our racing partners share and demonstrate a genuine commitment to those same values. My team and I are available at any time to discuss this matter. We remain insistent on, and hopeful, for a resolution we can all stand behind.

“We are likewise frustrated by the lack of full transparency surrounding this matter with us, your corporate partners, and look forward to receiving a complete account of all findings.”

February 28 – Horner case dismissed

On the eve of the new F1 season, Red Bull GmbH’s investigation dismissed the case against Horner.

“The independent investigation into the allegations made against Mr Horner is complete, and Red Bull can confirm that the grievance has been dismissed,” read a statement.

“The complainant has a right of appeal. Red Bull is confident that the investigation has been fair, rigorous and impartial.

“The investigation report is confidential and contains the private information of the parties and third parties who assisted in the investigation, and therefore we will not be commenting further out of respect for all concerned. Red Bull will continue striving to meet the highest workplace standards.”

February 29 – Anonymous source leaks alleged evidence

During practice for the Bahrain Grand Prix, an anonymous source distributed alleged evidence – a host of WhatsApp messages supposedly between Horner and the accuser – to F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali, FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem, Horner’s rival team principals and members of the media.

A personal statement released by Horner said: “I won’t comment on anonymous speculation but to reiterate, I have always denied the allegations.”

March 1 – F1 and FIA meet in Bahrain

Ahead of the first qualifying session of the season, Domenicali and Ben Sulayem met to discuss the developing situation.

Horner was also seen leaving the pit wall during final practice to meet with them, as the focus on the issue continued to heighten.

March 2 – Horner in show of defiance alongside wife Geri

On Sunday, Horner’s wife Geri entered the paddock and the duo were seen side-by-side pre-race and at the podium ceremony, celebrating a one-two finish for Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez.

Thai majority owner Chalerm Yoovidhya was also alongside the Briton as part of a show of defiance.

			© XPBimages
© XPBimages

March 3 – Jos Verstappen gets involved

Another twist in the story came as Verstappen’s father Jos was quoted in the Daily Mail that the team was “in danger of being torn apart” if Horner remained in position, going as far as to say that ‘It will explode’.

The comments added to speculation from across the weekend that his son’s future with the team was in doubt, despite holding a contract that runs to the end of 2028.

March 4 – Horner meeting with Verstappen management

Following the comments made by Jos, Horner met with representatives for Max ahead of the second race of the season in Saudi Arabia.

The face-to-face meeting with manager Raymond Vermeulen was arranged to clear the air and de-escalate the situation.

			© XPBimages
© XPBimages

March 7 – Horner accuser suspended by Red Bull

Ahead of the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, it was confirmed that Horner’s accuser, who still has the right to appeal the dismissal of the case raised, was suspended on full pay.

No statement was forthcoming from any party.

March 8 – Marko, Verstappen futures in doubt

On qualifying day at the Jeddah Corniche Circuit, Helmut Marko suggested to Austrian TV outlet ORF that he was facing suspension by Red Bull, understood to be linked to an investigation into the information leaks throughout the Horner case.

A meeting with Red Bull GmbH managing director Oliver Mintzlaff was also confirmed.

Verstappen leapt to Marko’s defence following his pole position lap, insisting he could leave if the Austrian lost his role.

			© XPBimages
© XPBimages

March 9 – Marko stays, Horner delivers Verstappen warning

Marko and Mintzlaff arrived in the paddock together and the Austrian revealed he would not be suspended after all.

After another one-two finish for the team, Horner delivered a warning for Verstappen and the rest of the team, insisting no single person was bigger than the collective effort.

The Briton, however, did concede he could not stop anyone from leaving if their heart desired.

March 16 – Accuser’s FIA complaint?

Following reports midweek that Horner’s accuser would seek an appeal against the dismissal of the case, a BBC report suggested there had been a complaint from the accuser made to the FIA.

In response, the governing body released this statement: “At the FIA, enquiries and complaints are received and managed by the Compliance Officer, and the Ethics Committee where appropriate.

“Both bodies operate autonomously, guaranteeing strict confidentiality throughout the process.

“As a consequence, and in general, we are unable to confirm the receipt of any specific complaint and it is unlikely that we will be able to provide further comment on the complaints that we may receive from any parties.”

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