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Christian Horner: Max Verstappen says Red Bull boss is 'a little distracted' amid inappropriate behaviour allegations

Allegations of inappropriate behaviour against Red Bull boss Christian Horner were dismissed following an investigation launched by the team's parent company; Horner reiterated his denial after material purporting to be the alleged evidence in the investigation was leaked on Thursday

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Max Verstappen was asked about Red Bull team principal Christian Horner after taking pole position at the Bahrain Grand Prix.

Max Verstappen says Christian Horner is "probably a little bit distracted", as the Red Bull team principal remained the focus of Formula 1's season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix following allegations of inappropriate behaviour.

Red Bull GmbH, the parent company of the reigning F1 constructors' champions, announced on Wednesday that the grievance made against Horner by a female colleague had been dismissed following an external investigation carried out by a specialist barrister. The claimant retains the right to appeal.

Horner, who has denied the allegations throughout the process, came under renewed pressure on Thursday as material purporting to be the alleged evidence in the investigation into his conduct was leaked to numerous media organisations and F1 team principals from an anonymous email account.

After reiterating his denial via a statement on Thursday evening, Horner was on the Red Bull pit wall as reigning world champion Verstappen took the first pole position of the season in Friday's qualifying.

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Verstappen took the first pole of the season in Bahrain.

Speaking in a press conference immediately after the session, Verstappen said: "From my side, and I think what I can see also from the mechanics and engineers, we are fully focused on the car and the performance during the weekend.

"That's how it should be, I think, and that's what we continue to do because it's not our business, we're not particularly involved in that.

"We are paid to do our job and that's what we are doing and that's also what we love doing, so that's what we focus on."

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Horner was missing from the pit wall during final practice as he went to speak with FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem.

Horner has been in charge of Red Bull Racing since it formed in 2005 and has led the squad to six constructors' triumphs and seven drivers' titles, the last three of which have come in successive seasons for Verstappen.

Asked if he retains full faith in Horner's leadership, Verstappen added: "When I look at how Christian operates within the team, he has been an incredible team boss, so absolutely from the performance side of things, you can't even question that.

"So that's what I am also dealing with. I speak to Christian a lot, and also of course throughout the weekend here he is fully committed to the team.

"He's also here for the performance, of course probably a little bit distracted, but like I said before, we just focus on the performance things and that's how we all work together."

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Sky Sports' Craig Slater provides an update surrounding Horner after Red Bull's principal released a personal statement on Thursday.

F1 bosses meet to discuss Horner situation

After the leaking of the material purporting to be the alleged evidence in the Horner investigation, Formula 1 chief executive Stefano Domenicali and FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem met on Friday to discuss the situation.

Horner left the Red Bull pit wall during final practice ahead of qualifying on Friday to speak to Ben Sulayem, but neither Formula 1 or the FIA have offered public comment on the situation since the outcome of the investigation was announced.

While Horner's statement on Thursday evening came via a spokesperson, the 50-year-old opted to give a brief television interview upon his return to the Bahrain International Circuit on Friday morning.

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Horner refused to comment after a series of alleged messages were leaked regarding a case of inappropriate behaviour.

"I am not going to comment on anonymous speculation from unknown sources," Horner told Sky Germany.

"I followed in full the grievance process, which was completed in a thorough way. The result of which was the grievance was dismissed and as I said, I can't comment on unknown sources."

When asked what comes next, Horner replied: "We go racing."

After the outcome of the investigation was announced on Wednesday, Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff and McLaren chief executive Zak Brown had urged Formula and the FIA to seek further "transparency" from Red Bull GmbH.

Horner is set to remain on the pit wall as Verstappen attempts to convert pole position to victory in the first race of the season at 3pm on Saturday.

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