Max Verstappen is the new darling of the Formula One Red Bull family as Sebastian Vettel was before him. Vettel won 4 consecutive world titles with the Milton Keynes squad between 2010-2013 before receiving the call from Ferrari. With hindsight Sebastian may have fared better by staying with the team who nurtured his talent rather than heading to Italy and the promised land of the Scuderia.
Now a double world champion, Verstappen is unlikely to make the same mistake given he is contracted tonRed Bull until 2028, yet even the most loved F1 drivers have to fulfil their contractual obligations.
Former F1 driver claims Max breached his contract
Former F1 driver Hans-Joachim Stuck of the March and Shadow racing teams claims Max Verstappen was in breach of his contract when refusing to obey team orders at the Sau Paulo GP.
As the last lap of the race commenced, Verstappen’s engineer requested he allow his team mate through for the additional point in his attempt to clinch P2 in the drivers’ championship.
Verstappen ignored the team order and as the chequered flag fell his engineer asked the driver, “Max what happened?”
Verstappen responded “I told you already last time I need the guys not to ask that again of me, Ok?
“Are we clear about that?”
“I gave my reasons and I stand by it”
Verstappen accused of a lack of discipline
Stuck who is now 71 years of age questions the Dutch driver’s mentality having caused a furore over what was in fact just a minor place race finish.
Speaking to Eurosport Germany, Stuck said: “From my point of view, it had to do with a lack of discipline. The first commandment in Formula 1 is to follow the team’s instructions unconditionally, because the drivers have signed a contract.”
Yet given Verstappen’s detailed explanation over the radio, clearly the situation had been previously discussed and Max had made his position clear.
Christian Horner was quick to tidy up matters after the race in Brazil explaining the specific situation regarding the Brazil race had not been properly managed by the team and thus excused Verstappen’s refusal to obey team orders.
Red Bull history of rebellious drivers
Red Bull have a history of allowing their star drivers latitude from their contractual obligations as famously in Malaysia 2013 Sebastian Vettel ignored the previously agreed “Multi-21” instruction.
Vettel’s team mate Mark Webber was leading the race and Sebastian was instructed not to attack the Aussie and bring home a team 1-2 finish. However, the then triple world champion ignored the team orders, turned up his engine mode and overtook Webber and the resulting race win.
At the end of the season it was Webber who retired from the sport, while Vettel despite his contractual breach of team orders remained Red Bull’s lead driver.
Vettel’s Multi-21 breach the beginning of the end
Ironically the departure of Webber saw the promotion form Toro Rosso of Daniel Ricciardo who was the only driver capable of defeating the mighty Mercedes team at the dawn of the hybrid era. Mercedes won 16 of the 19 races though Ricciardo completed his maiden victory in Canada and followed this up with back to back wins in Hungary and Belgium.
Vettel became the first world champion since Jacques Villeneuve in 1998 to fail to win a race the season following his title winning year. The success of Ricciardo in 2014 for many was the reason Sebastian left the Red Bull family for Ferrari in 2015 to pursue the path of his hero Michael Schumacher.
Yet win hindsight Vettel’s best years were at Red Bull Racing and the dream of helping Ferrari to another championship winning season was never to be realised by the German whose 6 years with the Scuderia ended in frustration and disappointment.
Perez now firmly the No.2 driver
Whilst Sebastian Vettel’s “Multi-21” team order disobedience may have been the beginning of the end of the German driver’s success, it is unlikely that Max Verstappen’s refusal to follow instructions in Brazil will affect his dominance within the Red Bull team.
If anything the entire debacle proved Sergio Perez hand is weak and he is de facto the Red bull Racing number 2 driver as Max Verstappen hold’s all the cards.
Here it is: The fastest EVER run up Shelsley Walsh.
The 22.37 second run by Sean Gould in the Gould GR59 Judd V8. 410kgs. 700hp. He's doing 103mph before the first corner, 141mph on Ess Approach and 150mph over the finish line.https://t.co/PPWGvC560X#shelsleywalsh pic.twitter.com/Fa3M3pdMvd
— Shelsley Walsh (@shelsleywalsh) December 22, 2022