Former Red Bull F1 driver Sebastian Vettel calls for 'more transparency' in sport after Christian Horner investigation

3 April 2024, 08:56 | Updated: 3 April 2024, 11:43

Former Red Bull F1 driver Sebastian Vettel has called for "more transparency" in the sport after his former team principal Christian Horner was investigated over claims of inappropriate behaviour.

Vettel won four consecutive world championships with Red Bull between 2010 and 2013 - with Horner having led the team since 2005.

In February this year, Horner was investigated by the F1 team's Austrian parent company, Red Bull GmbH following allegations of inappropriate behaviour towards a female colleague.

The 50-year-old was later cleared but there have been fears the investigation, which attracted widespread media attention, has damaged the reputation of the sport.

Asked for his thoughts on Red Bull's recent off-track problems, Vettel told Sky News's Breakfast with Kay Burley: "Obviously there's been a lot of talk since the beginning of the year. I think with these things, it's always difficult to know everything.

"It would be nice if there was simply more transparency so that you could have more of an opinion.

"I think it's always difficult if you read one thing, then another thing and then the opposite."

The 36-year-old, who is from Germany, added the negative attention for Red Bull is a "shame" because current driver Max Verstappen, who has won three world championships with the team, is "doing a great job".

Vettel, who retired from F1 in 2022, continued: "A lot of individuals that I remember from my time [at Red Bull] are doing a great job in the background and that's sort of forgotten when the subject hovers around something else."

In March, the female employee who accused Horner of misconduct decided to appeal against Red Bull's decision to clear him.

Asked how women were treated in the sport during his career as a driver, Vettel said: "F1 is as an old-fashioned business in many ways.

"So first of all, there weren't many women [employed within the sport] you know, the numbers were going up.

"So between when I started and when I left, there were a lot more women in the paddock and a lot more women not just following the sport, but also working in the sport.

"So I think that's a positive change. But I think really, like everywhere else, there's still room for improvement."

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Will Vettel ever return to Formula 1?

The retired driver is in his mid-30s, meaning he could potentially have a few more years ahead of him if he were to return to the sport.

Asked whether he would consider making a comeback, the father-of-three said the thought does "cross my mind" but it's not the "main thought".

He added: ""There are thoughts but nothing concrete at the minute."

The departure of Lewis Hamilton to Ferrari means there is now a vacancy at Mercedes, with Vettel admitting he has been speaking to the team's principal Toto Wolff.

However, he didn't shed any light on what the discussions were about or if they were related to a return to F1.

Vettel said he was "surprised" when Hamilton announced he would be joining the Italian team and said it "will be different" to see the British driver in the Prancing Horse's famous red colours.

Vettel was appearing on Sky News this morning to help promote the Perple energy drink brand which he has invested in.