The Formula One circus never appears to far from controversy and following the budget cap saga Red bull again appear to be at the centre of a new drama. Paddock insiders appear to believe Max Verstappen is pushing the team to replace his team mate Sergio Perez.
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Red Bull are fighting for their first 1-2 in the final drivers’ championship table with Perez and LeClerc tied for the position prior to the final race of the season.
Verstappen’s angry response
Verstappen refused to obey team orders last time out in Brazil reacting angrily on the radio to the the instruction he allow Sergio Perez through on the last lap of the grand prix.
Perez made matters worse when told of Max decision by commenting for all to hear, “that shows who he really is.”
The team hospitality quarters at Interlagos are in a permanent building behind the garages and the have full glass frontages, so the ensuing row was plain for all to see.
Verstappen’s manager was present along with team boss Christian Horner as angry exchanges continued for several minutes before the drivers left to give interviews to the press.
The team and both drivers claim the matter has been resolved however the surprise appointment of Daniel Ricciardo as a development driver has caused a flurry of speculation he will in fact replace Perez as Verstappen’s team mate.
Do you ever get that deflating feeling… 😬
Pierre Gasly certainly got that… and some! #AbuDhabiGP #F1 pic.twitter.com/Zh0GNMBJjU
— Formula 1 (@F1) November 19, 2022
Schumacher says Max wants a new team mate
Ralph Schumacher tells Germany’s motorsport-total he is “not 100 percent sure that Perez will still be his teammate next year.
“I think Ricciardo has a good chance. It must be behind the scenes very, very aggressive and I think Max wants a new combination.”
“Max is the spearhead of Red Bull. The whole future is laid out for him until 2028. In the end, he pulls the coals out of the fire, brings the victories home.
“Accordingly, I could imagine that because of his contract, he will also win them has the opportunity to have a say in who drives next to him. And I think he prefers Ricciardo there.”
Daniel Ricciardo is a free agent following his sacking by McLaren for his poor performances this season relative to his team mate Lando Norris.
Marko slip reveals Ricciardo appointment
During the Abu Dhabi grand prix weekend Red Bull consultant Helmut Marko implied to German media that Ricciardo would be returning to the Red Bull fold which forced Christian Horner to explain the situation properly today.
“We haven’t signed anything yet, but Helmut in his enthusiasm, has obviously announced it.”
“So I guess that means Daniel will be joining us, unless, of course, he chooses not to sign it [the contract].”
Horner believes despite his poor performance over the past two seasons, “Daniel’s a big character… he is still one of the biggest names, one of the biggest characters in Formula 1.”
“He obviously has a history of being a Red Bull junior, and just with the demands that are on the race drivers these days, just from a marketing perspective alone, we are very active as a team, we do many, many show runs and events.
Horner confirms Ricciardo
“So to have a driver of Daniel’s profile and history with the team, within the group, is only an asset for us.
“It means he keeps in touch with Formula 1, we’ll obviously be using him in the simulator as well, and he’ll potentially be attending some events – if he does sign a contract.
“I’m sure that will all become clear in the event of him signing a contract.”
Perez has a potential two more years on his contract, though the second year is believed to be optional for the team.
Yet Horner makes no reference to the rumours Ricciardo will replace the team’s Mexican driver either for 2023 or the following season.
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Out of context Lando and Daniel… 🤣🐧#AbuDhabiGP 🇦🇪 pic.twitter.com/FYoMp5wwoA
— McLaren (@McLarenF1) November 19, 2022
Very disappointed in Max’s behavior. Perez has been an amazing teammate and helped Redbull and Max without question.
Max lost a huge supporters in that one moment of madness. Funny how your true character comes to light when the pressure is on. Can’t believe for one moment CH will stomach this childish behaviour.
Ralf Schumacher speaks to much these days
Verstappen don’t deserve a team mate he’s a nasty little man