Domenicali reportedly joined his predecessor as F1 CEO, Bernie Ecclestone, in pressuring Christian Horner to consider stepping away quietly from Red Bull.
At the request of the Austrian parent company, Horner, aged 50, spent eight hours last Friday meeting with the independent lawyer appointed by Red Bull to investigate alleged “inappropriate behavior.”
Ralf Bach, correspondent for Auto Bild, claims the lawyer has now gone on holiday, and the outcome of his investigation remains unknown. The saga is expected to extend well beyond the launch of the Red Bull 2024 car this week (Thursday evening at 8 PM) and likely also the start of pre-season testing.
“The specific subject of these allegations is still not known to the public. The only certainty is that the person, a middle manager whose name is known but not published for privacy reasons, felt pressured.”
“The manner in which the alleged coercion was applied does not align with modern moral standards,” added Bach, admitting that he – like most other F1 observers – does not believe Horner can survive the scandal.
Ecclestone, Domenicali Push Horner Out
It was already known that Ecclestone, for whom Horner was a wedding witness, had privately advised the long-time Red Bull boss to step down.
And now, it is believed that the current F1 CEO, Domenicali, is also getting involved behind the scenes on behalf of the concerned owners of the sport, Liberty Media.
“Even the Americans are pressuring Red Bull,” said Bach.
“Stefano Domenicali called Mark Mateschitz at the request of his American bosses.”
It is important to note that Horner would retain the support of the Thai co-owners of the energy drink company, who hold 51%, but Mark Mateschitz – from the Austrian side of the shareholder – is the largest owner of Red Bull with his 49%.
And Mateschitz, Dr. Helmut Marko, and even the Verstappen camp would like Horner to leave – potentially to be replaced by Red Bull GmbH co-CEO, Oliver Mintzlaff.
Horner Red Bull Scandal Pressure. Horner Red Bull Scandal Pressure