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New footage has emerged of under-pressure Red Bull boss Christian Horner and wife Geri Halliwell in earnest conversation with Flavio Briatore during the Bahrain Grand Prix at the weekend.

The couple were the centre of attention at the opening Grand Prix of the Formula One season, putting on a show of unity for the cameras.

Horner was exonerated last week by an internal Red Bull report after allegations of ‘coercive behaviour’ towards a female colleague.

But then pictures emerged in an anonymous e-mail sent to 149 figures within the sport revealing what appeared to be sexually suggestive WhatsApp messages to the complainant.

Among the recipients were FIA president Mohammad bin Sulayem and F1 chief executive Stefano Domenicali.

New video shows embattled Christian Horner and wife Geri Halliwell deep in conversation with Flavio Briatore in Bahrain as Red Bull chief fights text scandal

Fresh footage has emerged of under-pressure Red Bull chief Christian Horner and wife Geri Halliwell in earnest discussion during the Bahrain Grand Prix 

The couple put on a united front for the cameras over the weekend after allegations Horner sent sexually suggestive WhatsApp messages to a female colleague

The couple put on a united front for the cameras over the weekend after allegations Horner sent sexually suggestive WhatsApp messages to a female colleague

The couple watched the podium celebrations together after Max Verstappen won the race

The couple watched the podium celebrations together after Max Verstappen won the race 

Halliwell kisses her husband before the start of the Bahrain Grand Prix on Saturday afternoon

Halliwell kisses her husband before the start of the Bahrain Grand Prix on Saturday afternoon

Briatore, the former chief of the Benetton F1 team, greets Red Bull driver Sergio Perez at the Bahrain circuit on Saturday

Briatore, the former chief of the Benetton F1 team, greets Red Bull driver Sergio Perez at the Bahrain circuit on Saturday 

The clip, posted on Saturday by Turkish motorsport journalist Cihangir Perperik, showed Horner and his wife appearing to have a serious conversation with Briatore and a Red Bull staffer at the circuit.

Italian businessman Briatore, 73, was managing director of the Benetton Formula One team during the 1990s when a young Michael Schumacher won two world titles with them. 

He was later team principal of Renault F1 after they took over Benetton in 2000. Fernando Alonso won the driver’s championship with the team in 2005 and 2006. 

Briatore is no stranger to controversy within the sport.

He was forced to resign from Renault due to his involvement in a race-fixing scandal at the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix and was banned by the FIA – a punishment later overturned. 

Briatore was also briefly co-owner of Queens Park Rangers Football Club.  

Red Bull chief Horner maintained all weekend in Bahrain that his ‘focus is very much with what’s on the track’ without commenting on the alleged messages.

The Mail reported on Sunday night that Halliwell has demanded Horner cuts ties with the female colleague he is accused of sending the racy messages to. 

The former Spice Girl, who has stood by her beleaguered partner resolutely so far, is said to have laid down ‘strict ground rules’ for the Red Bull boss after he was cleared of inappropriate behaviour.

Halliwell, 51, is said to have ‘read her husband the riot act’ before putting on a show of unity with him in front of the cameras at the Bahrain Grand Prix on Saturday, including kissing him before Max Verstappen claimed victory for Red Bull.

Horner joined celebrations after reigning champion Max Verstappen claimed victory in the season-opening race on Saturday.

Briatore is pictured speaking to Max Verstappen and Horner at last year's Qatar Grand Prix

Briatore is pictured speaking to Max Verstappen and Horner at last year’s Qatar Grand Prix

Verstappen and Horner (right) both celebrated the Dutchman's victory in Bahrain

Verstappen and Horner (right) both celebrated the Dutchman’s victory in Bahrain

Jos Verstappen (right) claims Red Bull will 'explode' if Christian Horner remains at the team

Jos Verstappen (right) claims Red Bull will ‘explode’ if Christian Horner remains at the team

He was also seen stood next to his partner Halliwell to watch the podium celebrations, having earlier kissed in full view of the cameras.

But some are calling for Horner to leave his position, including Jos Verstappen – father of three-time world champion Max – who said the Milton Keynes-based racing team would ‘explode’ if he stays in charge.

‘There is tension here while he (Horner) remains in position,’ he exclusively told Mail Sport.

‘The team is in danger of being torn apart. It can’t go on the way it is. It will explode. He is playing the victim, when he is the one causing the problems.’

FIA chief Mohammed Ben Sulayem said the turmoil is 'damaging the sport on a human level'

FIA chief Mohammed Ben Sulayem said the turmoil is ‘damaging the sport on a human level’ 

Rival Mercedes boss Toto Wolff said the matter should be taken out of Red Bull's hands

Rival Mercedes boss Toto Wolff said the matter should be taken out of Red Bull’s hands 

Toto Wolff also spoke out on the situation and called for Formula One’s governing body to ‘set the compass right’.

Wolff said: ‘Let’s see where it goes in the next few days. I would very much hope that the governing body and the commercial rights’ holder set the compass right.

‘But the moment I continue to question how this has been handled, I am probably not doing any good to the whole issue, because then it could be seen as this just being about a power fight within F1.

‘That’s why it should not be in the teams’ (Red Bull’s) hands. It’s a much bigger topic than that and I don’t want to diminish the whole situation by making it seem like the Mercedes guy is talking about the Red Bull guys.’

Ben Sulayem told the Financial Times that the turmoil is ‘damaging the sport on a human level’. 

Domenicali, meanwhile, has not reacted to the matter directly at all, and kept a low profile in Bahrain.

Mail Sport also revealed that FIA president Ben Sulayem told Max Verstappen to back Horner in a guarded chat after qualifying in Bahrain on Friday. 

Max Verstappen (right) was seen speaking with FIA president Mohammad Ben Sulayem (left) after qualifying at the Bahrain Grand Prix

Max Verstappen (right) was seen speaking with FIA president Mohammad Ben Sulayem (left) after qualifying at the Bahrain Grand Prix

The FIA boss reportedly implored Verstappen to back his team principal Christian Horner

The FIA boss reportedly implored Verstappen to back his team principal Christian Horner

The triple world champion, who took pole and went on to win the race in Bahrain, was seen in discussion with motor racing’s most senior figure in parc ferme. Both men hid what they said behind their hands.

But according to an observer standing close by, Ben Sulayem told Verstappen: ‘You must publicly back Christian.’

Another source said that Verstappen wasn’t entirely convinced by the advice. The Dutchman was equivocal when asked about Horner in the press conference afterwards.





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