Toto Wolff
Mercedes team principal, Toto Wolff, was unhappy with Red Bull's statement on the resolved investigation involving Christian Horner. Bernadett Szabo/Reuters

Since Red Bull team principal and CEO, Christian Horner, was cleared of alleged inappropriate behaviour towards a female colleague on Wednesday, the nature of the resolution has promoted responses from key individuals within the world of Formula 1.

Red Bull's official statement in the aftermath of Horner being cleared did not mention any information regarding the internal investigation or the allegations made against him, labelling the report "confidential".

The controversy surrounding Horner comes right as the 2024 F1 season begins with the Bahrain Grand Prix this weekend. The Red Bull team principal has repeatedly denied the allegations made against him and is operating in his role as usual to get his team ready for the new campaign.

When the allegations were still fresh and the case had not been resolved, the 50-year-old made a public appearance at Red Bull's new car launch and was present at the F1 pre-season testing in Bahrain last week.

Whilst speaking at a team principals' press conference on Thursday, Mercedes team principal, Toto Wolff, and Chief Executive Officer of McLaren Racing, Zak Brown, reacted to the outcome of Horner's investigation. Both stressed the need for F1's governing body, the FIA, to investigate the matter themselves.

Wolff commented: "I read the statement, which was pretty basic. There is a lady in an organisation that has spoken to HR and said there is an issue. It was investigated and yesterday the sport has received a message, 'It's all fine. We've looked at it.'"

The Mercedes boss went on to add: "I believe that with the aspirations as a global sport, on such critical topics, it needs more transparency and I wonder what the sport's position is. we as a sport need to assess what is right in that situation and what is wrong."

Brown, reiterated Wolff's thoughts, saying: "From what I've seen there continues to be a lot of rumours. I think the sanctioning body has a responsibility and authority to our sport, to our officials. I think all of us in Formula 1 are ambassadors for the sport on and off the track."

The McLaren CEO also mentioned the importance of the FIA having complete access to the internal investigation by Red Bull. He said: "They need to make sure that things have been fully transparent with them, that they come to the same conclusion that has been given by Red Bull and that they've agreed with the outcome."

Wolff and Brown's take on the investigation came just hours before alleged text messages relating to Horner's investigation were leaked. 149 individuals from within the F1 industry received the text messages via a link on an email. Horner again denied the allegations made against him off the back of this.

Whilst it is not yet known if the FIA and F1 will launch its own investigation and have its own findings on the Horner allegations, the topic is being brought up at the usual pre-race meet between FIA President, Mohammed Ben Sulayem and Formula One Group CEO, Stefano Domenicali.

Red Bull's response to the Horner allegations does not appear to be enough in satisfying those in the F1 landscape, with the chances of the topic going away appearing unlikely at this moment. The build-up to Saturday's Bahrain Grand Prix has been largely dominated by the news and questions will presumably be put to more drivers and team bosses once the race weekend concludes.

It remains to be seen whether Red Bull are able to focus on the season's inaugural race as they likely would have expected Horner's issue to be completely behind them when they released their statement on the investigation on Wednesday.

Red Bull will be hoping its lead drivers, Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez, can perform well in Bahrain and get the team's season off to a good start. In 2024, Horner's team will be aiming to clinch a fourth successive drivers' championship and a third constructors' title on the bounce.

If Red Bull does not perform at its usual self this weekend, Horner's presence around the team will come into question as he will presumably not have been able to give his full attention to racing matters. Also, the team's shortcomings will inevitably get linked to the off-track issues involving its team principal.