Motorsport: Cleared Red Bull F1 boss Christian Horner seeks to turn focus after accuser suspended

Red Bull Formula One team boss boss Christian Horner appealed for his family's privacy to be respected on Thursday after facing another barrage of questions about his conduct. 

Speaking at the Saudi Grand Prix in Jeddah hours after it emerged that the Formula One champions had suspended a female employee who accused him of inappropriate behaviour, Horner said it was time to move on. 

The Briton was cleared last week after an independent investigation, having denied all the accusations. 

"It's obviously been a very trying period," the father of three, who is married to Spice Girls singer Geri Halliwell, told a press conference organised by the governing FIA with three other team bosses. 

"When there's children involved, when there's families, parents etc involved, it's not pretty. 

"My wife has been phenomenally supportive throughout this, as has my family," added Horner, who walked into the Bahrain paddock last Saturday hand in hand with his wife in a very public display of support. 

"But the intrusion on my family is now enough. 

"We need to move forward and to focus on what we are here's time now to focus on why we're here which is to go Formula One racing." 

His accuser has not been named by the team and details of the allegations remain confidential, although purported evidence was emailed anonymously to F1 media and key figures in the paddock last week. 

The fires were further stoked when Jos Verstappen, father of the team's triple world champion Max, told the Daily Mail last week that the team risked being torn apart and would 'explode' if Horner stayed. 

Sky Sports news reported the female accuser had turned up for work on Monday and been suspended on full pay as a result of the inquiry. 

Horner said the grievance had been fully investigated and dismissed by a top, independent barrister. The only person named in the investigation, Horner would not comment on the suspension. 

"I'm afraid that I can't comment on anything that's confidential between an employee and the company," he said, before the moderator intervened and asked a question about the Saudi Motor Show in Riyadh. 

The attempted diversion failed and the questions kept coming, with the other team bosses little more than bystanders. 

He was asked about transparency, the message to the watching world and Formula One's attempt to present the sport as a positive place for women to work. 

Horner said the story had been fuelled by anonymous leaks to the media and others had sought to take advantage of the situation. 

"Formula One is a competitive business and there's been obviously elements that have looked to benefit from it, and that's perhaps the not-so-pretty side of our industry," said the 50-year-old. 

The media has been rife with speculation since Bahrain that Max Verstappen could walk out on Red Bull due to the rift between his father and Horner, with rivals Mercedes having a vacant seat. 

Horner said he had spoken to Verstappen after last Saturday's season-opener, congratulating him on his son's performance. The older Dutchman is not in Jeddah this week.