Wolff and Brown call for Red Bull transparency over Horner


Team bosses express unease at Red Bull's failure to be transparent over investigation into Christian Horner's conduct.

While we are used to Toto Wolff and Zak Brown expressing their unhappiness at almost anything involving their Austrian rivals, in terms of this particular matter the pair appear to have a point.

Yesterday's mealy-mouthed statement that the investigation had been concluded and "that the grievance had been dismissed", posed more questions than it answered and left a shadow over all involved.

Speaking today, Wolff and Brown called for greater transparency, a call that is likely to be echoed by others including Ford, the Austrian team's proposed engine partner.

"I read the statement which was pretty basic," said Wolff, "and my personal opinion is that we can't look behind the curtain. At the end of the day, there is a lady in an organisation that has spoken to HR and said there was an issue, and it was investigated.

"Yesterday, the sport received the message that it was 'all fine, we have looked at it' and I believe that as a global sport on such critical topics, it needs more transparency," he added.

"I wonder what the sport's position is," he continued. "We are competitors, we are a team and can have our own opinions, but it is more like a general reaction that we as a sport need to address what is right in that situation.

"As I said, we are being asked questions here as competitors, are we talking as competitors and with the right values, morals based on the speculation. As a sport, we cannot, we cannot afford to leave things in the vague, the opaque on critical topics like this because it is going to catch us out. Because eventually we are in a super transparent world, and eventually things are going to happen, and I think the organisation have looked it at and it is 'Okay and we can move on' and not try to supress it.

"I am not saying this has happened," he insisted, "but we are standing from the outside looking in at statements, press releases and it seems it is not as modern as things are in the real world, but maybe we are in a bubble in Formula 1 and think that is okay."

"From what I've seen, there continues to be a lot of rumours and speculation," added Zak Brown. "I think the sanctioning body has a responsibility and authority to our sport, to our fans. I think all of us in F1 are ambassadors for the sport on and off the track and so I think they need to make sure that things have been fully transparent.

"I don't know what those conversations are but it needs to be thorough, fully transparent and that they come to the same conclusion that has been given by Red Bull," he added. "I think until then, there will continue to be speculation because there are a lot of unanswered questions about the whole process. And I don't think that's healthy for the sport.

"I think it's the responsibility ultimately of the organizers of Formula One, the owners of Formula One, to make sure that all the racing teams and the personnel and the drivers and everyone involved in the sport are operating in a manner in which we all live by. I don't think it's the team's roles and responsibilities."

"I trust that Red Bull has done a strong process, we have to in that circumstance," said James Vowles. "What I want is us as a sport to be proud that we're sitting on several foundations that are of inclusivity, openness and transparency.

"All I asked for in that matter is that we make sure we have faith and trust in all of us as organisations that are working with the same standards."

Meanwhile, insisting that the matter has been dealt with, Horner claims the saga has unified the team.

"I'm just pleased that the process is over," he told Sky Sports. "I obviously can't comment about it, but we're here very much to focus now on the Grand Prix and the season ahead and trying to defend both of our titles.

"Within the team it's never been stronger," he replied when asked if the saga had affected the team.

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Published: 29/02/2024
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