On Monday, a report from Dutch publication De Telegraaf confirmed that the Red Bull boss was under investigation following complaints from a company employee. Asked about the accusations, Horner responded: “I completely deny these claims.”
BBC Sport later added that the allegations relate to inappropriate behaviour of a controlling nature, with Red Bull already looking into the matter.
Following the reports, the Red Bull team said in a statement: “After being made aware of certain recent allegations, the company launched an independent investigation.
“This process, which is already under way, is being carried out by an external specialist barrister. The company takes these matters extremely seriously and the investigation will be completed as soon as practically possible. It would not be appropriate to comment further at this time.”
Williams boss Vowles has become the first F1 team boss to publicly speak about the allegations since they emerged. He told Bloomberg: “The sport itself, wind back 20 years ago, male-dominated without question. If you had to ask me what makes up a team, it would be white, more than likely male, more than likely 40 years old… something in that ballpark.
“That’s changing, and it’s only a positive that’s changing that result. I can only control what happens within Williams and what I can do within that environment is open everyone’s eyes to this is how we have to be, because the best ideas don’t come from being a closed group of individuals. It comes from diversity.
“These allegations are allegations. I’m afraid I don’t have any understanding of what is behind them and the significance of what has happened.
“All I can say [is] that should this ever happen in our regard, we’ll be entirely supportive in terms of fixing it and making sure we have a culture that is accepting of everyone.”
Asked what a potential outcome of Horner leaving the sport would mean, Vowles continued: “Again, I think it means we all have to look each other in the mirror and make sure that we are posing the right questions internally and acting in a way that we can only be proud of, not today but in the next ten years.”