Last weekend the Formula 1 post race press conference experienced some controversy from Red Bull’s Max Verstappen, with comments that caused a backlash from F1 fans on social media regarding his thoughts about Romain Grosjean’s’ horrific crash.
Jerome Pugmire of AP wanted to know in the video conference of nine-time GP winner Verstappen:
“In view of such pictures, shouldn’t you leave a driver the option of whether they want to compete again?”
Verstappen replied: “If I were a team boss, I would kick out such a driver. I would tell him – you will never sit in the cockpit again.”
This caused a stir on social networks. Many people felt that this reaction was, at best, insensitive in the face of a life-threatening accident.
Max Verstappen seems keen to ‘correct’ this line of thinking saying:
“I think people misunderstood what I meant. What I was trying to express – as drivers, we know the risks when we get into a race car, and if anyone has doubts, they should consider not racing anymore
“Of course, it’s not wrong if someone is uncomfortable to race, but we are part of a team and people rely on us to do our job at the wheel. Of course, if Romain hadn’t left this accident on two legs, things would have been very different on Sunday”.
“Our sport was much more dangerous in the 60s and 70s, and yet these drivers got on the track – because they loved what they were doing and because it was their job. They knew they could risk their lives or lose friends every time.”
“Fortunately, we have an incredibly high level of safety today. I respect everyone’s choice, but that is how I think. Nobody wants to see such an accident and in the end, all that matters is that Romain is ok.”
For the coming GP weekend Max says:
“Well, Lewis is not driving, but we have Valtteri and George in the fastest car. I expect it will be more difficult for us because this track layout favours cars with a lot of engine power”.