Christian Horner, Red Bull
Red Bull content pool/

SEATTLE - Red Bull's Formula 1 team principal Christian Horner is still on the hook, as another chapter in his inappropriate behavior case opens up with new evidence.

No more than 24 hours after being cleared of inappropriate behavior towards a member of the racing team by an external investigation, text messages between Horner and an unidentified individual were distributed to members of the F1 community and to the press.

On Feb. 29, a Google drive containing 79 separate files are believed to be materials related to the recent investigation conducted around Horner. Red Bull's team boss has not publicly denied the veracity of these text messages.

The files were distributed to high ranks along the racing world while the teams continued their preparations for the opening race of 2024. Besides multiple media outlets, F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali, FIA President Mohammed Ben Sulayem and all nine other team principles were also recipients of the files. The emails are part of a chain of events that started in early February, as Dutch news outlet De Telegraaf reported that Horner had been accused of inappropriate behavior towards a female employee of the Red Bull Racing team.

In a statement following De Telegraaf's report, Red Bull said that an investigation was underway by an external specialist barrister, which later cleared Horner of any wrongdoing.

In response to the email leaks, a Red Bull spokesperson read a statement from Horner in the paddock. "I won't comment on anonymous speculation, but to reiterate, I have always denied the allegations," it quoted Horner as saying.

Just hours before the leak, rival teams had pushed F1 managements and FIA to get involved in ensuring there was transparency over the investigation conducted by Red Bull. McLaren's CEO Zak Brown said "I've read this statement. I think, from what I've seen, there continues to be a lot of rumors, speculation, and questions. I think the sanctioning body has a responsibility and authority to our sport, to our fans, and I think to all of us in Formula 1... I think they need to make sure that things have been fully transparent with them," he said.

Horner, who has been Red Bull's team principal since they entered Formula 1 as a full constructor in 2005, is regarded as one of the most successful team principals in Formula 1 history. Under his guidance, Red Bull has won six constructors' championships and seven drivers' championships, including last year's double thanks to Max Verstappen's historic season.

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