Abu Dhabi F1 controversy won’t taint Verstappen title, says Red Bull

Red Bull believes the ongoing controversy over the Abu Dhabi safety car restart won’t serve to taint Max Verstappen’s Formula 1 title success.

The manner in which F1 race director Michael Masi handled the late race safety car at the Yas Marina circuit last weekend has triggered a backlash for grand prix racing, and tarnished the image of both the sport and the FIA.

While motor racing's governing body is clear that lessons can be learned from what happened, with a commission being set up to probe the events, Red Bull reckons that the fallout has done nothing to overshadow the achievement of Verstappen.

Instead, Red Bull team boss Christian Horner reckons that the controversy will quickly blow away – and all that anyone will focus on in the future is how Verstappen was so good over the campaign.

“People in this business have very short memories,” said Horner. “We even forgot what's happened earlier this year as it's been such a long racing season.

“I think that Max is absolutely the deserving world champion, when you look at the championship as a whole.

“Of course, you know, the events on Sunday have drawn an awful lot of comment. But that happens. It happens in sport.

“I think that we've had a lot of bad luck this year. We got fortunate with a safety car, but we made the right strategic calls. We won the race with great strategy, great teamwork, and great execution by Max.

“And time will move on. Max is a very, very deserving world champion, and we're incredibly proud of that. And the history books will always show that he's the 2021 world champion.”

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing, Christian Horner, Team Principal, Red Bull Racing

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing, Christian Horner, Team Principal, Red Bull Racing

Photo by: Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

Verstappen himself says that lessons from F1’s history books, including controversies such as the way Ayrton Senna won the 1990 championship by driving Alain Prost off the road at Suzuka, show that time changes people’s perceptions.

“Even the championships which have been won, like 30 years ago, they have also been sometimes a bit controversial,” said the Dutchman.

“But nowadays, I guess, people, when they look back at footage like that, they actually enjoy it. So it's just part of the sport.”

Read Also:

Verstappen felt it right, however, that the FIA was willing to look into the events of Abu Dhabi with an investigation to see what lessons can be learned for the future.

For while there were times when he did not agree with stewards’ decisions, he equally understands how tough their job can be.

“I was sometimes not agreeing to what happened in the races, but I think that's quite normal right?” he said.

“You even have that in your relationship where sometimes you don't agree with things.

“Throughout the whole year maybe it didn't look like it, but I was in a very good relationship with the stewards. And when we were in there, sometimes it's a tough call.

“I mean, I also, in 2019, I kind of got invited to spend two days with the FIA [at the stewards seminar] and spent a bit of time with the stewards as well.

“Sometimes also for them, it's very hard to make decisions, and they have to follow the rules. So, yeah, I think it's good at least that you can talk about it and, as a driver, when I look at myself, I also look at every single year, what can I do better?

“I think everyone should be like that every single year: to look into the year after and, and say, what can we do better?”

shares
comments

Related video

Wolff: Team boss radio chat with F1 race control should be banned
Previous article

Wolff: Team boss radio chat with F1 race control should be banned

Next article

The feisty defiance that characterised Sir Frank Williams

The feisty defiance that characterised Sir Frank Williams
Load comments
The Schumacher trait that will give Haas hope in F1 2022 Prime

The Schumacher trait that will give Haas hope in F1 2022

Mick Schumacher’s knack of improving during his second season in a championship was a trademark of his junior formula career, so his progress during his rookie Formula 1 campaign with Haas was encouraging. His target now will be to turn that improvement into results as the team hopes to reap the rewards of sacrificing development in 2021

The “glorified taxi” driver central to F1’s continued safety push Prime

The “glorified taxi” driver central to F1’s continued safety push

As the driver of Formula 1’s medical car, Alan van der Merwe’s job is to wait – and hope his skills aren’t needed. James Newbold hears from F1’s lesser-known stalwart.

Formula 1
Jan 15, 2022
When BMW added F1 'rocket fuel' to ignite Brabham's 1983 title push Prime

When BMW added F1 'rocket fuel' to ignite Brabham's 1983 title push

There was an ace up the sleeve during the 1983 F1 title-winning season of Nelson Piquet and Brabham. It made a frontrunning car invincible for the last three races to see off Renault's Alain Prost and secure the combination's second world title in three years

Formula 1
Jan 13, 2022
How “abysmal” reliability blunted Brabham’s first winner Prime

How “abysmal” reliability blunted Brabham’s first winner

Brabham’s first world championship race-winning car was held back by unreliable Climax engines – or so its creators believed, as STUART CODLING explains

Formula 1
Jan 10, 2022
The steps Norris took to reach a new level in the 2021 F1 season Prime

The steps Norris took to reach a new level in the 2021 F1 season

Lando Norris came of age as a grand prix driver in 2021. McLaren’s young ace is no longer an apprentice or a quietly capable number two – he’s proved himself a potential winner in the top flight and, as Stuart Codling finds out, he’s ready to stake his claim to greatness…

Formula 1
Jan 9, 2022
How Fangio set the bar for Schumacher and Hamilton in F1 Prime

How Fangio set the bar for Schumacher and Hamilton in F1

Juan Manuel Fangio, peerless on track and charming off it, established the gold standard of grand prix greatness. Nigel Roebuck recalls a remarkable champion.

Formula 1
Jan 8, 2022
How Russell sees his place in the Mercedes-Hamilton F1 superteam Prime

How Russell sees his place in the Mercedes-Hamilton F1 superteam

George Russell joining Lewis Hamilton at Mercedes this year gives it arguably the best line-up in Formula 1 – if it can avoid too many fireworks. After serving his apprenticeship at Williams, Russell is the man that Mercedes team believes can lead it in the post-Hamilton era, but how will he fare against the seven-time champion? Motorsport.com heard from the man himself

Formula 1
Jan 6, 2022
How F1 pulled off its second pandemic season and its 2022 implications Prime

How F1 pulled off its second pandemic season and its 2022 implications

OPINION: The Formula 1 season just gone was the second to be completed under the dreaded shadow of the COVID-19 pandemic, but in many ways it was much more ‘normal’ than 2020. Here’s the story of how the championship’s various organisers delivered a second challenging campaign, which offers a glimpse at what may be different next time around

Formula 1
Jan 5, 2022