The president and Mr. Horner

Formula 1 has gotten off to a rocky start with most of the action happening off track including accused team bosses and even the FIA president. Red Bull’s Christian Horner was accused of inappropriate behavior with an employee and now the FIA president, Mohammed Ben Sulayem, has been accused of trying to impact the outcome of a race as well as lobby stewards to not homologate the Las Vegas circuit.

For Horner’s current situation, an investigation was done independently at Red Bull corporate and the allegations were dismissed. Just 24 hours later, a tranche of What’s App messaged allegedly from Horner to the female employee were leaked.

Now the employee who lodged the complaints against Horner has been dismissed this week. Meanwhile, this added fuel to the social media fire and Horner is facing social media criticism.

For Mohammed Ben Sulayem (MBS), things are getting touchy as a whistle blower made the allegations and an internal investigation has started. If this investigation takes longer than a week, will team bosses and sponsors and F1 itself be critical of the FIA for taking too long to resolve the issue like they did with Red Bull?

The team bosses met with the media in Saudi Arabia today ahead of the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix. When asked about MBS and the allegation, Horner said:

“I think the one thing that I’ve seen and learned certainly from any investigation is that don’t pre-empt the facts.

“There needs to be an investigation. I’m sure the relevant parties and again, the process that they have within the statutes of the FIA, will be followed.

“All I would urge is don’t prejudge. Wait for the facts. Wait to see what is the reality before coming to a judgement.”

I can’t help but think this is a much more humble response than we may have gotten a year ago from Horner and there’s not much of a mystery that some team bosses aren’t too crazy about MBS in general.

Regardless of Horner’s perspective, now or in the past, the fact is that he is correct. Correct on both accounts. We do not know the details of either situation so heaping social media justice is really just a fool’s errand. We need to wait for the outcomes of both situations.

The difference here is that the FIA is an organization that should be transparent with all members but Red Bull is a private company and the details of their investigation may never be public. Some will not be happy with that but that’s the difference between a public organization and private company.

I am unclear on how British employment law works but dismissing the employee who made the allegations is an interesting move that, on the surface, doesn’t look good but it does give me reason for pause as to her actions in the situation. Very strange move and a very strange situation.

It is a bit humorous to see Horner defending MBS after their awkward interaction at the last two FIA prize-giving gala’s.

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John Wells

That’s a whole lotta chazerai for F1…. and we’re only one race in!. Will MBS be seen as a net negative for the sport??