Formula One

‘Trust issues’ will continue to linger at Red Bull

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The friction between Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez that erupted after the Brazilian Grand Prix will have enduring effects at Red Bull according to Sky F1’s pundits.

Verstappen’s refusal to follow a team order directing him to hand back a position to Perez left the Mexican unimpressed and compelled team boss Christian Horner to call a crisis meeting immediately after the race, the Briton forcing both his drivers to come to terms with the situation.

On the cool down lap at Interlagos, Verstappen told his team that he had his “reasons” for not complying with the order, which were believed to relate to Perez’s – possibly deliberate – crash in qualifying in Monaco earlier this year which ruined the Dutchman’s final flyer for pole.

A week later, at F1’s season finale in Abu Dhabi, the dust had settled, and all appeared normal between the two drivers.

<div>'Trust issues' will continue to linger at Red Bull</div>

But Sky F1’s David Croft believes that below the surface, the confidence has been ruptured.

“There has to be trust issues there,” said Croft. “You need to be able to trust your team and as a driver, trust your team-mate.

“Whatever went on in Monaco, and the assumption is that there was something about Checo’s crash that wasn’t misfortune, shall we say? If it wasn’t an act of misfortune, there is a trust issue there.

“And in the back of your mind, I don’t care who you are, you’re thinking ‘will they do that again? I don’t see how it gets repaired.”

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However, even if trust issues between Red Bull’s drivers continue to linger, they may not be a factor in 2023 given the overwhelming superiority displayed in 2022 by Verstappen relative to Perez.

In a year during which the Dutchman collected 15 victories and broke the record for the most wins achieved by an F1 driver in a single season, Perez only managed to win twice, In Monaco and in Singapore.

Croft’s fellow Sky F1 pundit Karun Chandhok insists Perez will need to significantly raise his game to challenge his blindingly fast teammate and fight for the championship.

“I, putting my driver hat on can tell you, I still remember drivers who have blocked me on a qualifying lap in 2007,” chimed in Chandhok.

“I think we’ll only find out the true damage done by Brazil next year at a moment where Checo is asked to help Max and I think that is going to be interesting.

“But ultimately though, Checo has got to lift his game, because he only out-qualified Max three times this year, all three on street circuits, one of them Monaco, perhaps a bit of an asterix as well.

“He’s got to lift his game if he’s going to be in a position to fight.”

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