The row over comments made by Sky F1 broadcaster’s Ted Kravitz rumbles on today as reports emerge executives of the British Broadcaster have called for talks between the parties at the F1’s home in Milton Keynes. During a somewhat satirical piece in Austin Kravitz had referred to Lewis Hamilton as being “robbed” of a win in Abu Dhabi 2021 and ultimately his 8th Drivers’ world title.
Whilst commentators have pointed out Kravitz did not accuse Red Bull or Max Verstappen of robbing Lewis there were insinuations that the Dutch driver could not have won either of his F1driver titles other than in controversial circumstances.
Verstappen claimed the 2022 F1 championship in Japan this season, though when he took the chequered flag to win the race it was unclear whether he had sufficient points for the season’s victory at that moment in time.
FIA rewrite the rules awarding points
Charles LeCLerc initially finished second which ordinarily would have meant the title would continue to the next event in Austin.
However, even when the Ferrari driver was relegated to third for cutting the final chicane and gaining a lasting advantage over Sergio Perez, the F1 broadcasters were citing the event would be a reduced points race finish.
The race had been red flagged part way through due to weather conditions and drivers only completed 28 of the scheduled 53 laps.
A new ruling to prevent shortened races which were completed under the red flag had been introduced this season. It was designed to prevent the events of the Belgium GP in 2021, where the race started, ran for 2 laps, was red flagged and didn’t restart. Yet full points were awarded.
So a sliding scale of reduced points based on the % of laps completed was introduced this season in case of a repeat of the farce in Spa in 2021.
Confusion over Verstappen title win
The Japanese GP laps completed fell into the 50-75% category which would have seen first place awarded 19 points, 14 for second and just 10 points for finishing third.
Even with LeClerc’s relegation to third place the reduced points would not have been enough for Verstappen to claim the title.
However, the F1 broadcasters and journalists who had reported extensively on the matter failed to read the regulations properly. The reduced points only applied for incomplete races finishing under the red flag. The Japanese GP was completed under racing laps.
Therefore the points awarded were in full despite the race only completing 52% of the scheduled distance.
Sky F1 Kravitz’s crime
Ted summarised his piece in Austin by questioning whether Verstappen could win a title in non- controversial circumstances after stating:
Kravitz said in his satirical piece about a fairytale script for the up coming Brad Pitt movie, “[Hamilton] doesn’t win a race all year, and then finally comes back at a track where he could win the first race all year, battling the same guy who won the race he was robbed in the previous year, and manages to finish ahead of him.
“What a script and a story that would have been.
“But that’s not the way the script turned out today, was it? Because the guy that beat him after being robbed actually overtook him, because he’s got a quicker car, because of engineering and Formula One and design, and pretty much because of [Adrian Newey, Red Bull’s chief technical officer] over there.”
Of course during the Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton domination era, the British broadcaster has repeatedly praised the unsurpassable driving skills of Hamilton.
F1: Is it the car or the driver?
Yet here Ted Kravitz ascribes Verstappen two title years “pretty much to [Adrian Newey] over there” and because Hamilton was ‘robbed’.
Ted kravitz thought the 2022 season has revisited in one way or another the events of the 2021 Abu Dhabi GP and claimed Lewis Hamilton was robbed. Though it is probably the reference to his success being because of the car design alone that irked Max Verstappen and led to the boycott on Mexico.
“It had nothing to do with this weekend, but this year it’s been a constant kind of like digging, being disrespectful, especially one particular person [Kravitx] – and at one point it is enough, I don’t accept it”
Horner says team “backs Max”
Christian Horner backed his driver openly stating to non Sky media, “There were some derogatory comments made so we took a break from Sky for this race,” Red Bull team principal Christian Horner said in Mexico.
“Max was upset. We were upset and we made the decision to stand together as a team.
“It won’t have done Sky any harm for us to lay down a marker.
“Some of the commentary is fair but some pieces are sensationalist, and saying we robbed anyone of the championship, as was said in Austin, is going too far. It is not impartial or fair or balanced.“
Red Bull are not the first team to boycott an F1 broadcaster. Gunther Steiner of Haas refused to speak with Sky Germany for a while as did Ferrari with Sky Italia.
Yet it appears Red Bull’s protest has had the desired effect as today Sky Sports’ F1 director, Billy McGinty has Madde the trip North from London to seek a “reconciliation process”
after both sides decided to “draw a line under the fallout”.
Red Bull ‘normal service resumed’
However, given Horner’s assertion that normal service would resume this up coming weekend in Brazil, the reason for McGinty’s trip is not immediately obvious particularly given the events at the F1 launch party in Vegas this weekend.
Lewis Hamilton, George Russell and Sergio Perez were on a stage in Sin City waiting to be interviewed before the assembled crowd when George Russell questioned whether Sky’s David Croft was allowed to speak to Perez and Red Bull personnel now.
Crofty quipped, “Yes, I am tonight. I”ve got special permission, so don’t start on me!”
When asked if this was in fact OK, Perez appeared to look around and eventually joked, “they are not here” in reference to his Red Bull team management.
How will Reed Bull treat Kravitz in Brazil?
Today’s meeting is presumably to discuss how Red Bull will in actuality interact with Sky’s Kravitz when the time arrives rather than to orchestra some cheesy and disingenuous apology.
Though it would be entertaining if Red Bull choose to converse with Kravitz in a similar satirical fashion referring to his bias in an amusing manner, probably something McGinty is keen to prevent.
— Oracle Red Bull Racing (@redbullracing) November 7, 2022