Red Bull has issued a statement defending Max Verstappen’s actions in the Sao Paulo Grand Prix and taking the blame for putting him “in a compromising situation”.
Verstappen was asked to give a position back to Sergio Perez on the final lap having overtaken his teammate late in the race but been unable to make further progress up the order.
The team order was due to Perez fighting Charles Leclerc for second in the drivers’ championship – with Red Bull yet to achieve a one-two in the final standings – but the world champion declined to move over and criticized his team for asking over the radio.
Following the incident, Verstappen received heavy criticism but said he stood by his actions, and Red Bull has now defended its driver, taking the blame for the position it put him in.
“As a team we made some mistakes in Brazil,” the statement read. “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.
“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.
“Following the race Max spoke openly and honestly, allowing for both drivers to resolve any outstanding issues or concerns. The team accept Max’s reasoning, the conversation was a personal matter which will remain private between the team and no further comment will be made.”
Red Bull also went on to condemn certain comments on social media – aimed at both drivers and team members – in response to the controversy, saying it has is seen far too often in F1.
“The events that followed from a social media point of view are completely unacceptable. The abusive online behavior towards Max, Checo, 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. We value inclusion and want a safe space for everyone to work in and enjoy our sport. The abuse needs to stop.”