Formula One team principal Christian Horner has faced intense scrutiny after he was accused of allegedly sending messages to a female colleague.

The Red Bull boss, who is married to former Spice Girl Halliwell, and owns a large estate near Banbury, has always denied the claims.

However, Mrs Horner has reportedly issued him with an ultimatum, laying down strict ground rules for her husband.

The former Spice Girl, 51, wants her husband, 50, with whom she has a seven-year-old son, to cut all ties with the Red Bull colleague who accused him of inappropriate behaviour, according to national reports. 

Here, are some of the key questions that hang over the ongoing situation.

Where did all of this start?

Red Bull Racing’s parent company Red Bull Austria announced on February 5 that Mr Horner was being investigated following an accusation of “inappropriate behaviour” by a female colleague.

Mr Horner emphatically denied the claim and the 50-year-old stayed on as team principal after Red Bull confirmed that the grievance has been dismissed last week.

But, just 24 hours later, messages and a number of images apparently exchanged between Mr Horner and the complainant were sent from an anonymous email account to 149 members of the F1 paddock as well as members of the media – on the eve of last weekend's Bahrain Grand Prix.

What did Horner have to say about the email?

Mr Horner released a statement as news of the anonymous email broke.

“I will not comment on anonymous speculation, but to reiterate I have always denied the allegations,” it read.

“I respected the integrity of the independent investigation and fully co-operated with it every step of the way. It was a thorough and fair investigation conducted by an independent specialist barrister and it has concluded dismissing the complaint made.

"I remain fully focused on the start of the season.”

Oxford Mail: Geri and Christian Horner Geri and Christian Horner (Image: PA)Mr Horner was then questioned several times while in the paddock but refused to speak on the subject.

What impact did it have on the team over the race weekend?

Max Verstappen put his Red Bull team on pole position.

He did, however, say after qualifying that Mr Horner had been “a little bit distracted” and was twice asked if he had full confidence in his boss – not offering a definitive answer to either question.

Race won, case closed?

Not at all, no. Not only does the complainant have a right to appeal against the decision to allow Mr Horner to continue but Verstappen’s father – former F1 driver Jos – has said he believes the situation “is driving people apart”.

“There is tension here while he (Horner) remains in position,” Verstappen Snr told the Daily Mail.

Oxford Mail: Max Verstappen won in Bahrain despite the off-track issues facing his Red Bull boss

“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.”

Red Bull later dismissed such claims, saying the team remains “united”.

So what happens next?

The teams are currently preparing for the second race of the new season in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.