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Formula 1 Bahrain GP

Horner: Focus is on racing, not "motive" of those out to get me

Red Bull Formula 1 boss Christian Horner insists he will not allow the “motive” of those trying to bring him down to divert the focus away from his team and family.

Christian Horner, Team Principal, Red Bull Racing

Horner is at the centre of a mounting controversy in F1 in the wake of an investigation into his behaviour that was launched by the Red Bull energy drinks company.

However, despite an independent probe dismissing allegations made against him by a female employee, the matter has not gone away.

Over the Bahrain GP weekend, anonymous emails sent to senior F1 figures released some of the alleged evidence at the centre of the matter. 

Then, Jos Verstappen – father of Red Bull driver Max – publicly called for Horner to step down or risk the team tearing itself apart.

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The developments of the past few days are proof that there are factions trying to force Horner out of the team principal role that he has held since 2005, even if they have not yet put their head above the parapet.

But Horner remains defiant in his position and says that, while he is aware of the pressure being put to get rid of him, he will not allow it to distract him.

“I'm not going to comment on what motive whatever person may have for doing this,” he said after the Bahrain Grand Prix.

“My focus is on this team, my family, my wife, and going racing. I have the support of an incredible family, with an incredible wife and an incredible team. And everybody within that team. My focus is on going racing and winning races and doing the best that I can.”

Horner has admitted that the scrutiny on him, and the stresses he has faced amid the media frenzy, has not been particularly fun to plot a path through.

“Obviously, it's not been pleasant, some of the unwanted attention, but the focus is now very much on the cars,” he said.

“My  focus has very much been on what's going on on track. And the result [of the Bahrain GP] I think demonstrates where the whole team's focus is. And we move onwards.”

Horner received some very public support on race day of the Bahrain GP. He made sure to walk into the paddock with his wife Geri Halliwell, and was spotted on the grid arm in arm with the Thai majority owner of Red Bull Chalerm Yoovidhya.

Christian Horner, Team Principal, Red Bull Racing & Geri Halliwell

Christian Horner, Team Principal, Red Bull Racing & Geri Halliwell

Photo by: Sam Bloxham / Motorsport Images

Businessman Chalerm Yoovidhya, Christian Horner, Team Principal, Red Bull Racing

Businessman Chalerm Yoovidhya, Christian Horner, Team Principal, Red Bull Racing

Photo by: Jon Noble

Speaking about the importance of those moments, Horner said: “I've had tremendous support from within the team and within the company.

“It was a day about going racing, about the start of the season, and about starting the season in the best possible way.

“The drivers did brilliantly. The team did brilliantly. And it was best possible start for the team, for our partners, for our shareholders and everybody within the group.”

Horner declared that he was “absolutely” confident he would remain as team principal at Red Bull, as he said there were no grounds to move him on since he had been cleared in the investigation.

“There was a full, lengthy internal process that was completed by an independent KC [attorney],” added Horner. “The grievance that was raised was dismissed. End of. Move on." 

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