Geri Halliwell adds some Ginger Spice to Christian Horner F1 scandal

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner with wife Geri Halliwell. Photo: Reuters

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner with wife Geri Halliwell. Photo: Reuters

Published Feb 22, 2024

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Comment by Morgan Bolton

Geri Horner, née Halliwell – formerly of the Spice Girls – recently unfollowed her one-time band mate Posh Spice, aka Victoria Beckham, on Instagram.

How scandalous.

Some time later, perhaps due to the optics of it all or peradventure because of some sort of remorse, she refollowed Beckham, and David Beckham, although Brooklyn Beckham – their son – still seemingly remains out in the cold.

So, too, does Max Verstappen.

Things seem tense in the Horner household, and who could blame them after it was alleged that Geri’s husband Christian, of Formula One fame, had been charged with “inappropriate and controlling behaviour towards a female colleague”, as team principal of Red Bull Racing.

According to Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf, that behaviour includes sending “sex messages to the women employee”, and that he tried to pay around R12.5 million in hush money to wrap up the scandal quietly.

If true, there is only one course of action that Horner has – an immediate exit from Red Bull and F1, for such toxic and inappropriate behaviour in the workplace should never be defended or justified.

Of secondary concern is the rabid search for invective headlines scrutinising every aspect of the Horners’ public and personal life, which has now become the story, when we should be celebrating the start of the racing calendar.

I would even go so far as to say that the entire affair has brought the sport into disrepute, and regardless of whether it is true or not, someone must pay the piper.

Reports suggest that there is a power struggle within Red Bull – which seems more than likely – and that this is part of a carefully planned smear campaign to discredit Horner and oust him as team boss by a section of the team aligned with Verstappen.

The truth, you suspect, is somewhere in the middle.

Regardless, you can only agree with the FIA and F1 when they stated that the matter must “be clarified at the earliest opportunity, after a fair and thorough process”.

Yesterday saw the first outing of the new cars at a pre-season test in Bahrain, the only such test ahead of the first race of the calender next weekend.

It will be the earliest indication of what is in store ahead of the opening grand prix at the same venue.

Notwithstanding the distraction of Horner’s alleged improprieties, Red Bull are expected to rule the paddock again this year. Last season, with Verstappen dominating, they were imperious, winning 21 out of the 22 races.

Hopefully we will see a bit more resistance from the other teams this year. As a Tifosi, I dearly hope to see the Scuderia on the top step, while I also ache to see Lando Norris in a McLaren finally win his first GP.

The other big story to follow this year will be the movements of Lewis Hamilton. The great Brit will complete his final season for Mercedes before moving on to Ferrari.

The big question, however, is whether the Silver Arrows will give the seven-time world drivers’ champion all the support he needs, or consign him to the No 2 seat behind golden boy George Russell.

Such is the cut-throat business of F1 that it wouldn’t be surprising if Peter “Bono” Bonnington slips a dagger between Hamilton’s ribs after years of loyal service as his race engineer, and whispers “Toto Wolff send his regards”, ala Game of Thrones.

With Red Bull already touted to control proceedings, the biggest ask would be to see Sergio Perez upstage defending champion Verstappen.

It was a limp attempt from the Mexican last season to do so, but if he can put consistent pressure on the Dutchman, it could at least be something to cheer.

Such a rivalry would also be a dagger to the heart. How scandalous, indeed.

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