Red Bull trio – Max Verstappen, Sergio Perez and Christian Horner – speak up on what transpired in F1 Brazil GP with team orders.
Red Bull has found itself in another ‘negative’ news spiral at the end of the F1 Brazil GP when Verstappen refused to let Perez by when asked by the team. With the Mexican fighting for second in the drivers’ standing against Charles Leclerc, any help was crucial.
At the moment both are tied on points going into Abu Dhabi finale. While Perez was denied a place by Verstappen, Leclerc had similar fate against Carlos Sainz when Ferrari did not wished to take back third from the Spaniard to help the Monegasque.
The Ferrari matter was more a team call, but in Red Bull’s case, it was outright no from Verstappen as his radio played out. The Dutchman referred to internal discussions and expanded on nothing then or post-race, much like Red Bull chief Horner.
Multiple TV reports link it to Perez’s ‘deliberate’ crash in Monaco in qualifying, but there is no confirmation on that with Red Bull so far choosing not to reveal things. Verstappen, however, has extended his support for Perez in Abu Dhabi if needed.
The reasons remain unclear with the topic discussed in team briefing on Sunday, but nothing revealed apart from a handshake between the two drivers. Perez was visibly upset, not just on the radio but also the media pen when talking with the world media.
It remains to be seen how this is played out not just in Abu Dhabi but going into 2023 with the driver disagreements out in open. With the exact reasons not known, it leads to wild speculation and more damage to Red Bull as a whole amid bad press despite titles in bag.
Here’s what Verstappen said post-race:
Place not given to Perez –
Verstappen: That’s why we all sat together before I came here. We put everything on the table. Of course, I understand from Checo’s side, he’s disappointed. But I also gave my reasons about why I didn’t do it about something that happened in the past. That’s why I think finally, we all sat together and talked about it. And I think as a team, we understand and we have to move forward. We go to Abu Dhabi, they’re tied points. And if he needs the help there, you know, to finish ahead of Charles, I will help him.”
Expand more –
Verstappen: “No, it’s not necessary to talk about it. But it’s always important that as a team, of course we talk about it.”
Was it due to Monaco –
Verstappen: “I don’t need to say where it was.”
Here’s what Perez said post-race:
What happened –
Perez: “I was told to let me by and I was told that I would get back the position and I don’t know what was the communication on his side.”
Verstappen referred to something from past –
Perez: “No idea. Maybe you should ask him about it.”
Current scenario –
Perez: “I’ve nothing to say, really, I mean, after all I’ve done for him it’s a bit disappointing to be honest.”
Tied on points now –
Perez: “I have no idea, I am really surprised. We will try, we were definitely down on pace this weekend, I really hope that we will back in our usual form in Abu Dhabi.”
Here’s what Horner said post-race –
Intense discussions –
Horner: “We discuss these things internally, the drivers have obviously spoken about it as well. They’re very, very clear. For us, Checo is now tied on points with Charles, Ferrari didn’t switch their cars around and we go into Abu Dhabi as a team to do the very best that we can for Checo to achieve that second place and Max will fully support that.”
Reasons for Verstappen defiance –
Horner: “I’m not going to go into what we discussed behind closed doors. The drivers have discussed it and they’ve shaken hands and we’re absolutely focused on that next race.”
Verstappen bigger than team-
Horner: “No, we work as a team, we race as a team. Our objective and priority is to see if we can get Checo to finish in a runner-up in the championship. It’s something we’ve never achieved as a team before and Max has given his commitment as well that we’ll be doing the best in Abu Dhabi to achieve that. So it’s a straight fight between Checo and Charles and if Max can help in anyway he will do.”
Priority now for Perez to be second –
Horner: “Checo’s done a phenomenal job all year and he deserves that second place and I think that as a team we will do our very best to support that, to achieve that in Abu Dhabi.”
How to bring team together –
Horner: “We discuss it as a team, we discuss it behind closed doors, we’ll discuss it in a larger group in the debrief later. I think the bigger discussion will be as well why were we missing the pace today or this weekend. But the important thing that is addressed, it’s all dealt with, above the table and as a team we move on.”
UPDATE: Following what happened on Sunday, Perez has stated that every discussion remains within the team and focus is on Abu Dhabi now. “What a day yesterday… A safe podium with a lack of pace made everything complicated for us with the SC. Now to focus on Abu Dhabi.
“With Max and the team everything was discussed yesterday and it will remain internally, this is behind us and we will continue working as the great team that we have been until now,” he wrote.
Here’s how F1 Brazil GP panned out