F1 World Championship kicks off in Bahrain with Red Bull in the spotlight. GETTY IMAGES

The Bahrain Grand Prix, which takes place from Thursday to Saturday, marks the start of the Formula One World Championship. All eyes will be on Red Bull because of their dominance of the circuit and Christian Horner, who was cleared of "inappropriate behaviour" allegations on Wednesday.

The Formula 1 season with a record number of races of 24 kicks off on Thursday 29. Before started, a piece of extra-sportive news involving Christian Horner, the boss of the Red Bull team, was closed. 

The 50-year-old British manager, who is married to former Spice Girl Geri Halliwell, has faced allegations of "inappropriate behaviour" (allegedly towards a female member of staff, according to the media), accusations which Horner has denied.

Following a "fair, rigorous and impartial" internal investigation, Red Bull GmbH announced that the allegation had been "dismissed."

Many people are calling for a swift resolution to the 'Horner case'. "It's a very important time for the sport to make sure we stay true to our values," said Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton on Wednesday, "because it affects the sport." 

Max Verstappen, meanwhile, is determined not to let the situation affect his quest for a fourth consecutive F1 title. "I'm very focused on the car and myself and hopefully it will be resolved soon," he said 

Dutch driver and Red Bull are looking formidable at the moment. Verstappen won 19 of 22 races last season. Only Spaniard Carlos Sainz managed to win a race against Red Bull. The other two victories went to Mexican Sergio Pérez, Verstappen's team-mate.

Sparks fly behind Fernando Alonso in the Aston Martin. GETTY IMAGES
Sparks fly behind Fernando Alonso in the Aston Martin. GETTY IMAGES

Only Ferrari and Mercedes appear capable of challenging Christian Horner's team. "My first impression is that Red Bull still has a good lead," admitted Monaco's Charles Leclerc. The first two Grands Prix "will give us a better understanding of the work done so far," said Mercedes’ boss Toto Wolff. 

"We have an excellent base to work from," added seven-time world champion Hamilton." Aston Martin is also keen to see where they stand in relation to the rest of the field at the start of the season. "We will wait a few races to get a real assessment of the level of the teams," said the double world champion Fernando Alonso on Wednesday. 

The schedule for the first two races of the season in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia has been adjusted to take account of Ramadan, with the races now taking place on Saturday instead of Sunday.