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Defiant Christian Horner insists he won’t leave Red Bull

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SAKHIR, Bahrain — Christian Horner remained defiant about his future at Red Bull after a week of ongoing controversy about his internal misconduct hearing with the company.

On Wednesday, Red Bull GmbH dismissed a complaint of inappropriate behaviour made about Horner by a female member of the F1 team, though she can appeal the decision.

The day after the verdict a mass leak of files purportedly related to the case were leaked to the media and every team in the F1 paddock.

Horner has remained steadfast in continuing in the job he’s held since 2005 and, hours after Max Verstappen kicked off Red Bull’s season in dominant fashion with a win in Bahrain, said he considers the matter resolved.

“100%,” Horner told reporters when asked if he feels vindicated by the outcome of the investigation. “There was a full, lengthy internal process that was completed by an independent KC. And the grievance that was raised was dismissed. End of. Move on.

“I’ve always been entirely confident that I would be here. And my focus is on the season ahead and the races we have ahead. What people choose to write is up to them. But my focus coming out of this weekend is on the next race in seven days time in Saudi Arabia.”

Horner and wife Geri, formerly Ginger Spice of the Spice Girls, walked hand-in-hand down the paddock an hour-and-a-half before the race, before embracing in front of the cameras in a show of solidarity.

Before the race Horner also was seen chatting to and posing for photographs with Chalerm Yoovidhya, 51% owner of Red Bull GmbH.

“I’ve had tremendous support from within the team and within the company,” Horner said on Saturday evening. “So, yes, it was a day about going racing, about the start of the season and about starting the season in the best possible way.

“The drivers did brilliantly, the team did brilliantly and yeah it was the best possible start for the team, for our partners, for our shareholders and everybody within the group.”

He added: “Obviously it’s not been pleasant, the unwanted attention.”

Ahead of the race, FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem said the Horner situation was “damaging” to Formula One.

There is increasing pressure on the governing body or F1 to investigate the matter themselves.

Asked if he was sure he would be in his role all year, Horner said: “Absolutely.”

The leaks of Thursday night came from an unverified email account and Horner refused to be drawn on either the authenticity of the messages within the leak or where the leak came from. The authenticity of the files has not been verified by ESPN.

“I’m not going to comment on anonymous, speculative messages from an unknown source,” he said.

When pressed to comment, he said: “I’m not going to comment on what motives, whatever person may have for doing this. My focus is on this team, my family, my wife and going racing.

“I have the support of an incredible family, of an incredible wife, of an incredible team and everybody within that team and my focus is on going racing and winning races and doing the best that I can.”

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