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Christian Horner

Ben Sulayem: Ongoing Horner saga is 'damaging' for F1

The FIA President has addressed the ongoing situation around Red Bull boss Christian Horner.

Bahrain Horner Sulayem
To news overview © XPBimages

FIA President Mohammed Ben Sulayem believes the ongoing saga engulfing Red Bull Team Principal Christian Horner is "damaging" for Formula 1.

On Wednesday, the outcome into Red Bull GmbH's investigation into alleged inappropriate behaviour from Horner was revealed - with the grievance against him dismissed after the complaint from a female member of staff.

However, almost 24 hours later, a dossier containing purported WhatsApp messages and images between Horner and the member of staff was leaked to media and key F1 figures, including Ben Sulayem, F1 chief Stefano Domenicali, the other nine team principals and all permanent media.

Ben Sulayem and Domenicali have held talks in Bahrain to discuss the next steps as RacingNews365 understands forensic inspection of the email has taken place to determine who sent it and to verify if the messages are real.

Horner insists that he will not comment on "anonymous speculation" as the saga has overshadowed the season-opening weekend, especially in the UK tabloid media, with Ben Sulayem becoming the first senior FIA or F1 figure to speak publicly.

"It's damaging the sport, this is damaging on a human level," Ben Sulayem told the Financial Times.

"It is the beginning of the season. F1 is becoming so popular.

"We just need to enjoy the beginning of the season. Look at the competition. Why do we overshadow it with negativity?"

The comments come after Red Bull driver Max Verstappen conceded that Horner was "distracted" as he continues to run the race team in Sakhir - with the World Champion set to start from pole for the race.

When I look at how Christian operates within the team, he has been an incredible team boss.

"From the performance side of things, you can’t even question that. That’s what I’m also dealing with," he told media including RacingNews365.

"I speak to Christian a lot, also throughout the weekend here, he’s fully committed to the team.

"He’s also here for the performance. Of course, he’s probably a little distracted.

"But we just focus on the performance side of things and that’s how we work together."

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