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Christian Horner

Horner could face potential FIA disrepute charge

The ongoing saga surrounding Red Bull team principal Christian Horner could lead to the FIA turning to its International Sporting Code.

Horner Ben Sulayem Bahrain
To news overview © XPBimages

The FIA could turn to its International Sporting Code in a bid to seek transparency following an investigation into inappropriate behaviour against Red Bull team principal Christian Horner.

On Friday, Horner met with FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem and F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali to discuss the crisis situation that has engulfed him over the past few weeks, and in particular, the past few days.

On Wednesday, an independent investigation conducted by a specialist barrister into a grievance brought by a female Red Bull employee against Horner dismissed the claim.

A terse statement declared the investigation to be "fair, rigorous, and impartial", adding there would be no further comment out of respect for the parties involved, although confirming the woman concerned had the right of appeal.

Just 24 hours later, with Horner seemingly in the clear, an email from an anonymous source contained 79 files predominantly of alleged WhatsApp conversations between Horner and the woman involved.

The email was sent to senior F1 and FIA figures, including Domenicali and Ben Sulayem, as well as Horner's nine rival F1 team principals, plus members of the media.

Given the growing urgency of the matter, discussions are ongoing in an attempt to seek clarity on the situation that has been demanded by Mercedes team prinicipal Toto Wolff and McLaren CEO Zak Brown.

RacingNews365 understands forensic examination of the anonymous email has been undertaken by specialists within both the FIA and F1 in a bid to determine a possible source, and also the veracity of the content within it.

The feeling is neither organisation can comment at present without first seeing the 100-page report that was handed to Red Bull Racing's parent company, Red Bull GmbH, by the King's Counsel barrister who conducted the investigation.

The FIA, however, has the ISC at its disposal which may force the matter.

There are specific articles relating to offences that "shall be deemed to be a breach of the rules", initially article 12.2.1.c that is "any fraudulent conduct or any act prejudicial to the interests of any Competition or to the interests of motor sport generally".

Additionally, article 12.2.1.f cites "any words, deeds or writings that have caused moral injury or loss to the FIA, its bodies, its members or its executive officers, and more generally on the interest of motor sport and on the values defended by the FIA".

There is also 12.2.1.g where it is deemed an offence if there is "a failure to co-operate in an investigation".

The FIA could deem its reputation as motorsport's world governing body has been harmed by the ongoing saga, in particular as Ben Sulayem and other members of the FIA were recipients of the anonymous email.

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