Motor racing-Horner's accuser reported to have appealed Red Bull verdict

The Red Bull factory is seen as Red Bull Formula One team principal Christian Horner is expected to attend a company hearing
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By Alan Baldwin

LONDON (Reuters) - The Red Bull Formula One employee who accused team boss Christian Horner of inappropriate behaviour has lodged an appeal after her complaint was dismissed, British media reported on Friday.

The move is likely to keep the subject as a major talking point in Formula One and continue to cast a shadow over the season.

The unidentified woman was suspended last week after an investigation carried out by a senior independent lawyer, who has also not been named, cleared Horner.

The 50-year-old team boss had denied the unspecified accusations against him.

British media reported that the accuser had since hired a new lawyer, giving her more time to appeal.

There was no immediate confirmation from Red Bull GmbH, the Formula One champions' Austria-based parent company.

Red Bull GmbH said in a brief statement on Feb. 28, before the start of the season, that the complainant had a right of appeal after the grievance was dismissed.

The energy drink company also said it was confident the investigation had been "fair, rigorous and impartial' but there have been calls for more transparency with no details published.

Horner faced a barrage of questions at last week's Saudi Arabian Grand Prix and can expect more when the circus arrives in Australia next week.

The Briton, who is married to Spice Girls singer Geri Halliwell, has repeatedly called for the focus to be turned back on racing.

Red Bull have started the year in dominant fashion with two one-two wins led by triple champion Max Verstappen, whose future with the team has become increasingly uncertain due to the off-track events.

Verstappen's father Jos said after the opening Bahrain Grand Prix that the team risked being torn apart if Horner stayed in charge.

The Dutch 26-year-old driver has also indicated the continued presence at the team of 80-year-old Red Bull consultant Helmut Marko was a key to him staying after the Austrian feared he would be dismissed.

Media reports have also spoken of divisions within Red Bull, a company 51% controlled by Thai billionaire Chalerm Yoovidhya who has been supportive of Horner.

(Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Ken Ferris)