Brown, Wolff want more clarity on Horner probe

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SAKHIR, Bahrain — McLaren boss Zak Brown and Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff have called on Formula One’s authorities to demand greater transparency from Red Bull over the recent investigation into Christian Horner.

A complaint made by a female Red Bull Racing employee against Horner relating to inappropriate and controlling behaviour was dismissed by the team’s parent company, Red Bull GmbH, on Wednesday following an independent investigation.

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A brief statement from Red Bull GmbH said the investigation had been “fair, rigorous and impartial” and stated further details would not be released “out of respect for all concerned.”

Speaking at a news conference ahead of the season opening Bahrain Grand Prix on Thursday, Brown called for F1’s governing body, the FIA, to investigate the matter further.

“I read the statement. I think from what I’ve seen, there continues to be a lot of rumours and speculation, questions,” Brown said.

“I think the sanctioning body has a responsibility and authority to our sport, to our fans. I think all of us in Formula One are ambassadors for the sport on and off the track, like you see in other sports.

“So I think they need to make sure that things have been fully transparent with them. I don’t know what those conversations are. It needs to be thorough, fully transparent, and that they come to the same conclusion that has been given by Red Bull, and that they agree with the outcome.

“But I think until then, there’ll continue to be speculation, because there are a lot of unanswered questions about the whole process.

“So I think that’s what’s needed by those who run the sport to be really able to draw a line under it. Until then, I think there’ll continue to be some level of speculation by people and I don’t think that’s healthy for the sport.”

Wolff added: “My personal opinion is we can’t really look behind the curtain. At the end of the day, there is a lady in an organization that has spoken to HR and said there was an issue, and it was investigated and yesterday, the sport has received the message that it’s all fine, we’ve looked at it.

“I believe with the aspiration as a global sport, on such critical topics, it needs more transparency, and I wonder what the sport’s position is. We’re competitors, we’re a team and we can have our own personal opinions or not.

“But it’s more like a general reaction or action that we as a sport need to assess, what is right in that situation and what is wrong.”

Wolff, whose Mercedes team has been a direct rival to Red Bull in recent years, admitted it was not the position of competing teams to lead the call for further details but believes the sport requires more transparency on the issue.

“We’re being asked questions as competitors here. Are we talking as competitors? Are we talking with the right moral approach, with the values based on the speculations that are out there?” Wolff said.

“I simply think as a sport, we cannot afford to leave things in the vague and in the opaque on critical topics like this, because this is going to catch us out.

“Eventually, we’re in a super transparent world, eventually things are going to happen, and I think we have the duty, the organisation has the duty to say well we’ve looked at it, and it’s OK, and then we can move on. It’s sometimes very short-sighted to try to suppress it.

“I’m not saying this has happened. We’re standing from the outside and looking at it. But just as a looking at statements or press releases or the timelines, it just seems that it’s a bit not as modern as things go in this world, in the real world out there. But maybe in Formula One, we’re just our little bubble and we think that’s OK.”

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