Red Bull Racing and their double world champion driver have been under attack again. No sooner than the ‘cheating’ allegations over the team’s minor overspend of the 2021 budget cap and controversy hits the Milton Keynes outfit once again.
During the last race in Brazil, on fresher rubber Max Verstappen overtook his team mate on lap 67 of 71. Perez was told “Do not fight Max” despite the fact the Mexican driver was struggling on his older medium tyres. Sergio was also informed if Max couldn’t catch and pass Alonso the cars would be switched back.
Verstappen disobeys team orders
Verstappen was asked by the team to allow Checo through whilst driving the final lap of the race, but refused. This led to paddock uproar as Verstappen scolded his engineer stating “I’ve given you my reasons. Don’t ask again.”
A section of the social media posse immediately went to war describing Verstappen’s actions as “arrogant” to name one of the more printable adjectives.
During the press conference today for the season final in Abu Dhabi, Verstappen revealed he revealed his family also had received online abuse.
“All the things that I have read are pretty disgusting,” said Verstappen.
“After the last race, I looked very bad in the media, but they didn’t have the clear picture.
“To immediately put me down like that is ridiculous. Even more than that, they started attacking my family, my sister, my mum, my girlfriend and my dad.
Max’s sister attacked
“When your own sister writes to you that it is getting way too much, that says enough. It gets to me because you cannot attack my family.
“For me, that goes way too far when you don’t even have the facts of what actually was going on.
“And that definitely has to stop. If you have a problem with me, that is fine, but don’t go after my family because that is just unacceptable.”
When asked after the Brazil race for “his reasons” to disobey the team’s order, Verstappen refused to disclose the obvious past flashpoint, however there was a huge amount of speculation it was to do with Perez crashing in Monaco and denying ax his final flying Q3 lap.
Monaco the reason for ‘bad blood?’
Verstappen was questioned about the Monaco incident and was blunt.
“I am just a bit fed up with all this bulls***. As soon as there is something negative, it needs to be highlighted.
“It is pretty sickening to be a part of all that when, at the end of the day, I haven’t even done anything wrong.”
Red Bull Racing released a statement today clarifying Verstappen’s position and the information he was given over the closing laps of the San Paulo GP.
“As a team we made some mistakes in Brazil. We had not envisaged the situation that unfolded on the last lap and we had not agreed a strategy for such a scenario before the race.
Team informed Verstappen too late
“Regretfully, Max was only informed at the final corner of the request to give up position without all the necessary information being relayed.
“This put Max, who has always been an open and fair team player, in a compromising situation with little time to react which was not our intention.
“The events that followed from a social media point of view are completely unacceptable. The abusive online behaviour towards Max, Checo [Perez], the team and their respective families is shocking and saddening and unfortunately is something that we as a sport are having to address with depressing regularity.
“There is no place for it in racing or society as a whole and we need to do and be better. At the end of the day this is a sport, we are here to race. Death threats, hate mail, vitriol towards extended family members is deplorable.”
Clearly Verstappen was not given the same information as Checo as he passed his team mate with 4 laps to go and the lateness of the call from the team obviously surprised the world champion who in the heat of the moment reacted as he did.
"All the things I've read is pretty disgusting, even more than that they started attacking my family"
"If you have a problem with me, that's fine but don't go after my family because that's unacceptable"
Verstappen discusses the miscommunication at São Paulo 👇 pic.twitter.com/qGZCYmqegn
— Sky Sports F1 (@SkySportsF1) November 17, 2022