Christian Horner's Accuser Reportedly Suspended from Red Bull Racing

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The sexting scandal that has engulfed Christian Horner and Red Bull Racing has more turns than your typical grand prix.

The Red Bull team principal has been in charge of one of the biggest brands in the sport since 2005, but accusations of inappropriate behavior threatened to derail his career in February. That still might happen, despite him being cleared of wrongdoing.

And now, three-time world champion Max Verstappen’s dad, a former Formula 1 driver himself, has gotten involved. While it remains to be seen how this will all shake out, it’s entirely possible that Horner, 50, ultimately leaves Red Bull and Verstappen, 26, terminates his contract — or both.

As always in the world of racing, there’s a ton to track. Keep reading for everything to know about the situation:

Who is Christian Horner?

Who Is Christian Horner Christian Horner Sexting Scandal With Red Bull RacingChristian Horner and Geri Halliwell Mark Thompson/Getty Images

Horner is the principal and CEO of Red Bull Racing. After a successful driving career, Horner retired from racing in 1999 and took his current job at the age of 25, making him the youngest team principal at the time. Since he took over, Red Bull has won 13 world titles, including six World Constructors’ Championships and seven World Drivers’ Championships.

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In 2015, Horner married Spice Girl Geri Halliwell. The two share son Monty, and Horner also has a daughter, Olivia, from his previous marriage to Beverley Allen. He is also the stepfather of Halliwell’s daughter Bluebell, whom she shares with ex Sacha Gervasi.

Why Was Christian Horner Investigated?

Why Was Christian Horner Investigated Christian Horner Sexting Scandal With Red Bull RacingChristian Horner Ian Gavan/Getty Images for Formula 1

Red Bull launched an investigation in February into allegations that Horner “engaged in inappropriate behavior” with a member of the team. Horner denied any wrongdoing at the time, saying on February 15, “I obviously deny fully the allegations that have been made against me. There’s an ongoing process and that obviously is being worked through at the moment.”

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While Red Bull initially did not reveal any further details, a document loaded with screenshots of sexually suggestive text messages soon leaked. The messages, allegedly from Horner, were directed toward an unnamed female employee.

What Was the Outcome of the Investigation?

What Was the Outcome of the Investigation Christian Horner Sexting Scandal With Red Bull RacingChristian Horner Mark Thompson/Getty Images

Red Bull concluded its investigation at the end of February and cleared Horner of any wrongdoing. While clarifying that his accuser has the right to appeal, Red Bull expressed confidence in the fairness of its investigation.

“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 from the company. “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.”

The alleged text messages leaked one day after Red Bull announced it had cleared Horner.

What Does Max Verstappen’s Dad Have to Do With It?

What Does Max Verstappen Dad Have to Do With It Jos Verstappen Christian Horner Sexting Scandal With Red Bull RacingJos Verstappen and Max Verstappen Mark Thompson/Getty Images

Jos Verstappen finds himself in a position of significant influence in the Formula 1 world. The former F1 driver has been open about his distaste for Horner, and as the father of the most dominant driver in the world today, his demands for Horner’s ouster will not fall on deaf ears.

“The team is in danger of being torn apart,” he told the Daily Mail. “It can’t go on the way it is. It will explode. He is playing the victim, when he is the one causing the problems.”

The Telegraph also reported that Jos has said his son would leave Red Bull if Horner stays at the helm.

Red Bull Racing called Jos’ comments “untrue” in a statement to CNN on Monday, March 4, adding, “We are united as a team and we are concentrating on racing.”

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The Daily Mail then published a report on Tuesday, March 5, claiming that Jos had been romantically involved with the woman at the heart of the Horner scandal and became angry when the alleged explicit messages began.

Sky Sports Italy obtained footage of Jos and Horner in a heated exchange at the Bahrain Grand Prix on Saturday, March 2, and ESPN has reported that Jos does not plan to attend the upcoming Saudi Arabian Grand Prix on Saturday, March 9.

Will Max Verstappen Stay With Red Bull?

Will Max Verstappen Stay With Red Bull Christian Horner Sexting Scandal With Red Bull RacingMax Verstappen, David Beckham and Christian Horner. Mark Thompson/Getty Images

Max is under contract with Red Bull through 2028, but he does have an exit clause in his deal that says he could leave immediately if Red Bull director Helmut Marko decides to leave as well. F1-Insider asked Marko about the clause, and Marko replied, “As far as I’m concerned: I won’t stand in Max’s way [should he decide to leave].”

Adding fuel to the speculation, Jos was seen talking to Mercedes principal Toto Wolff at the Bahrain Grand Prix, and the duo reportedly had dinner as well. Mercedes will have an open seat next year and the need for some added star power with Lewis Hamilton headed to Ferrari. While this scenario doesn’t appear likely, it is certainly on the table.

Max vocalized support for his father in a Wednesday, March 6, press conference ahead of the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix. “My dad, from how I know him in go-karting, is very outspoken and he is not a liar, that is for sure,” he told reporters, according to Reuters. “My dad and I are very close. We call every day.”

Does Christian Horner’s Accuser Still Work for Red Bull Racing?

ESPN reported on Thursday, March 7, that the female employee who accused Horner of inappropriate behavior had been suspended from Red Bull Racing due to findings of the investigation. The employee was suspended with full pay and still has the right to appeal Horner’s innocent verdict.

Horner, for his part, said he couldn’t comment on “anything confidential between an employee and a company” during a Thursday press conference.

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