Suspending Horner Temporarily Benefits Him & Red Bull

Red Bull is facing negative publicity due to allegations of inappropriate behavior by team boss Christian Horner, with criticism directed at the company’s handling of the situation and the impact on its reputation and relationships with sponsors.

Highlights

‣ Red Bull and Red Bull Racing are facing negative publicity due to allegations of inappropriate behavior by team boss Christian Horner, with the situation exacerbated by their handling of the investigation.

‣ Frank van den Wall Bake criticizes Red Bull for not acting decisively and transparently in response to the allegations, suggesting that their approach of having a lawyer paid by Red Bull conduct the investigation led to perceptions of bias and self-judgment.

‣ The ongoing controversy surrounding Christian Horner and Red Bull Racing poses risks to their relationships with major sponsors like Oracle and Ford, especially given the zero-tolerance policy on inappropriate behavior in the United States.

‣ Van den Wall Bake recommends crisis management strategies for Red Bull, including better communication and considering a temporary suspension for Horner during the investigation, to mitigate damage and maintain sponsor relationships.


Red Bull? Oh, they usually grab the spotlight for all the right reasons. Spectacular stunts. Winning sports teams. But now? There’s a cloud hanging over them. And it’s not looking good.

At the heart of it all? A bit of a mess within their racing team. Frank van den Wall Bake, a big name in sports marketing in the Netherlands, points a finger at them. He reckons they mishandled a situation with their team boss, Christian Horner. And not in a small way.

Every day, it seems, there’s a new twist in the Christian Horner saga. Accusations of inappropriate behavior have been swirling around him for weeks. The media’s all over it. “They obviously don’t like this,” Van den Wall Bake muses. He’s got experience with Ajax, the Dutch national team, and the Volvo Ocean Race, so he knows a thing or two.

### Van den Wall Bake critical of Red Bull

Van den Wall Bake doesn’t mince words. He thinks Red Bull and their racing team are digging their own grave here. “This kind of thing happens,” he says. But it’s all about how you handle it. Act fast, limit the damage. Let it fester, and well, you’re in for a world of hurt. The longer it drags on, the more people start thinking there’s fire where there’s smoke.

Back in January, the story broke. A former colleague accused Horner of inappropriate behavior. Red Bull had a lawyer, on their dime, look into it. The investigation? It cleared Horner. But that’s about all we know. The details are scarce. Now, the accuser’s appealing and has taken her complaints to the FIA’s ethics committee.

### ‘Red Bull judged themselves’

“In my view,” Van den Wall Bake says, “Red Bull dropped the ball.” They should’ve distanced themselves from the rumors pronto. Declared their stance against any inappropriate behavior. And had an investigation that everyone could trust. Instead, they let their own lawyer handle it. When Horner was quickly cleared, eyebrows were raised. “They judged themselves,” people thought. And according to Van den Wall Bake, that was a major misstep.

### US companies on inappropriate behaviour

Now, there’s a shadow over Red Bull’s name. Not great, especially not for their F1 team’s sponsors. Think Oracle. Think Ford. These are US giants, and they don’t play around with inappropriate behavior. Zero tolerance.

Red Bull should’ve thought about that. But suggesting Oracle should cut ties with Red Bull Racing? That’d be a mistake, Van den Wall Bake believes. It’d undo years of partnership in a heartbeat. Instead, a statement could work. Something like, “We’re against inappropriate behavior, but we’re sticking with Red Bull Racing.”

Crisis management seems to have slipped through Red Bull’s fingers. Silence isn’t golden here. People understand mistakes, but you’ve got to own up to them. Digging in your heels? That just makes things worse.

### ‘Horner better spend time on the sidelines’

With an appeal looming, Horner’s about to be back in the hot seat. Van den Wall Bake’s advice? A temporary suspension might be wise. It’d take some heat off. Horner’s got some support from the Thai side of Red Bull, sure. But in the grand scheme of things? That support percentage doesn’t really matter.

Communication is everything today. Full disclosure is the way to go. And yes, sidelining Horner, at least for now, might be for the best. If he’s cleared, bring him back. That’s Van den Wall Bake’s take, at least. And it’s hard to argue with his logic.

Albert Ramirez
Albert Ramirez
Albert Ramirez is a senior writer at F1Highlights.com. With a passion for motorsports, Albert brings a unique perspective to the world of Formula One. With over five years of experience as a sports reporter, he has honed his skills in capturing the essence of the sport.

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