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Christian Horner investigation reaches ‘critical stage’ as announcement date suggested

Both F1 chiefs and the FIA have called for a swift resolution to the saga that has overshadowed the first round of team testing in Bahrain this week. And thus far, it has very much been ‘business as usual’ for the English Team Principal, who has been directing operations in the Middle East.

His rivals haven’t missed the opportunity to fire shots though. Mercedes boss Toto Wolff has called for transparency in the investigation, with his sentiments echoed by McLaren’s Zak Brown. And according to Sky Sports News, clarity should be provided soon.

Horner was reportedly restrained with the media during Thursday’s session at the Bahrain International Circuit, as opposed to his bullish approach to his situation at the team’s car launch earlier this month. And that was attributed to the investigation into him being at a “critical stage.”

The final interviews are said to have been conducted today, with the outcome expected to be confirmed early next week. It is, however, unlikely that a verdict will come in before Monday.

Slater also implied that Red Bull were unhappy at the prospect of any kind of deadline being set for a decision, believing the investigation should be treated separately to F1 events. But the sport’s bosses will want a resolution ahead of the opening weekend of the 2024 campaign from March 1-3, which takes place back in Bahrain.

Controversy off the track hasn’t impacted the performances of the RB20 on it though. On Wednesday, three-time world champion Max Verstappen was 1.14 seconds quicker than McLaren’s Lando Norris in second, with Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz behind in third.

Verstappen didn’t take to the track on day two as Sainz recorded the fastest lap, with Red Bull’s Sergio Perez in second. And Horner’s team have been strongly touted to continue their dominance this year.

Indeed, Mercedes driver George Russell conceded afterwards: “Red Bull are the favourites and definitely a step ahead of everyone else. That was to be expected.”

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