Motorsport

FIA President Opens Up On Christian Horner's Controversy: It Is 'Damaging Formula 1 On Human Level,' Says Ben Sulayem

During the practice for the Bahrain Grand Prix, a file alleged to contain evidence against Red Bull principal Christian Horner was emailed to nearly 200 people in the F1 paddock, including Liberty Media, F1, the FIA, the other nine team principals and multiple media outlets

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Red Bull team principal Christian Horner during the first practice session ahead of the Formula One Bahrain Grand Prix at the Bahrain International Circuit in Sakhir, Bahrain, Thursday, Feb. 29, 2024. (AP Photo/Darko Bandic)
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The president of Formula 1's governing body told the Financial Times the controversy around Red Bull team principal Christian Horner is damaging the sport but that the FIA won't conduct its inquiry unless it receives a complaint. (More Motorsport News)

Ahead of Saturday's season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix, Mohammed Ben Sulayem said any complaint lodged with its compliance officer would be investigated. But, it had not received one related to Horner's situation and would not “jump the gun,” the newspaper reported.

“It's damaging the sport,” Ben Sulayem told the newspaper, which added that he was speaking Friday after a meeting with Horner. “This is damaging on a human level.”

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On Wednesday, the team's parent company dismissed a complaint of alleged misconduct by Horner toward a team employee. A day later during practice for the Bahrain Grand Prix, a file alleged to contain evidence against Horner was emailed to nearly 200 people in the F1 paddock, including Liberty Media, F1, the FIA, the other nine team principals and multiple media outlets.

The authenticity of the files has not been verified by The Associated Press; the file came from a generic email account.

Horner has denied wrongdoing and said in a statement issued Thursday that he would not “comment on anonymous speculation.”

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Three-time defending champion Max Verstappen said after qualifying for pole position Friday that Horner was “fully committed to the team” but that his team principal was also “probably a little bit distracted.”

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