Jun.23 (GMM/Inautonews.com) Christian Horner has hit back at rumours he is set to be ousted at Red Bull.

British newspapers report that paddock speculation in Austria had suggested owner Dietrich Mateschitz was set to boost the struggling team’s waning motivation by installing F1 legend Gerhard Berger in Briton Horner’s place.

Indeed, Berger has been a conspicuous presence at grands prix in 2016, and last Sunday was even spotted on the Toro Rosso pitwall wearing a Red Bull-branded jacket.

Horner, however – having headed the Milton-Keynes based team since it entered F1 a decade ago – said the rumours had left him “shocked”.

“I had no idea people were talking about me that way.”

Horner revealed he has a “long contract” with Red Bull and denied that his relationship with Mateschitz is in trouble amid the team’s current performance trough.

“It is difficult but I had dinner with Dietrich on Saturday evening and we still get along very well,” he insisted. “We know we have problems but we just have to work through them and I am here to do that job.”

Fascinatingly, the Horner rumours coincide with the 41-year-old having departed Austria declaring that the troubled sport needs to have its complex rules re-written by an “independent” figure.

“Maybe we need someone not involved, an independent observer like a Ross Brawn, who understands the business and understands the challenges, to write the specification for what a formula one car should be,” Horner said.