Red Bull managing director Oliver Mintzlaff may be “redeployed” to supervise the F1 team if Christian Horner is ousted from his position, insiders have disclosed.
A hearing regarding a complaint of inappropriate behaviour against Red Bull team principal Horner is scheduled for Friday.
Horner has refuted any wrongdoing and retains his role while an external investigation unfolds.
Red Bull staff “remain unaware of the exact situation” and “can only speculate whether the aim is to remove Horner or to execute a power move leading to a senior figure from Salzburg taking a more active role in the highly successful F1 team,” as per The Times.
The British publication further notes that “insiders believe a reshuffle could involve Oliver Mintzlaff, a former football administrator who serves as the managing director of Red Bull Austria, being reassigned to supervise the team.”
“Since the passing of Dietrich Mateschitz, the Red Bull co-founder, in October 2022, Horner has become more susceptible,” it adds.
“Mateschitz was his staunch supporter, and although Horner still garners backing from Red Bull’s majority shareholders in Thailand, his relationship with Austria is perceived to be more strained, despite recognition of the excellent job he has done, with the team securing victory in 21 out of 22 grands prix last season.”
The Times report reveals that Horner was “completely taken aback” by the investigation and had been participating in a meeting of the F1 Commission in London when the news broke.
Horner is slated to undergo “hours of rigorous questioning” on Friday from the King’s Counsel appointed by Red Bull’s parent company to probe the widely reported allegations of “controlling behaviour towards a female staff member.”
Initially planned at Red Bull’s headquarters in Milton Keynes, the hearing might now be relocated to the independent lawyer’s offices in London.
The female staff member is understood to have already been interviewed and is believed to have presented “evidence” as part of her claim.
According to The Times, this evidence will be reviewed over the upcoming weekend before Red Bull’s owners are advised “of the necessary action to be taken early next week.”
Red Bull is eager to resolve the matter before the unveiling of their 2024 F1 car on February 15 – next Thursday.