Red Bull drivers forced to apologize to team after crash
Enough is enough for the boss of Red Bull’s Formula One team.
Having witnessed at least one of his drivers crash at all four Grand Prix events this season, Christian Horner has declared the situation “unacceptable” and ordered them to apologize to the team.
Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo collided on lap 40 of Sunday’s Azerbaijan GP, putting both drivers out of the race.
It was the second occasion neither managed to finish in 2018 — following the double retirement in Bahrain — and means Red Bull is already more than 60 points adrift in the constructors’ championship.
“They are both to blame for this, and it’s the team that unfortunately lost out,” said Horner, adding the drivers were very much “in the doghouse.”
The duo expressed regret for their role in the latest collision but will be forced to address the entire team in its Milton Keynes base prior to the next race in Barcelona.
“They have got to show the team and each other respect and give each other space,” said Horner. “They’ve been reminded that they have a responsibility in the role they perform, that they are both highly paid individuals, to act with the team’s interests at heart, not just their own.”
Verstappen, at 20 the youngest Grand Prix winner in history, has been involved in a number of incidents this season, prompting the creation of a website entitled “crashstappen.com.”
During Friday’s first practice session on the winding streets of Baku, the Dutchman could be seen sitting disconsolately on the pavement after spinning into the barriers on turn three.
In the week leading up to the Grand Prix, he told reporters: ‘You learn from your mistakes but that doesn’t mean you have to drive slower, actually faster, but maybe a little bit more in control.”
Sunday’s incident “had its origins” in two defensive moves made by Verstappen, according to motorsport’s governing body the FIA, but ultimately came about when Ricciardo left his move to overtake too late.
That neither was completely at fault was scant consolation.
“This result is really disappointing for the team. It doesn’t matter who is to blame, it just shouldn’t have happened,” tweeted Verstappen.
“So many people are working hard to improve our cars and they deserve an apology.”
Ricciardo, hailed as one of the best overtakers on the grid following his fine victory in Shanghai, acknowledged he was “heartbroken” for the team but hinted such clashes are always possible in a competitive environment where every inch counts.
“Sometimes we are on the limit and unfortunately it’s ended how it did,” said the Australian. “It’s not a nice situation, so I think we both feel pretty bad it’s ended like that, and for the team, it’s pretty crappy.
“As for the incident itself, it’s a tough one. I’ll let you guys and fans have your comments. The thing is, I’d come out and the gap was opening on the inside. Once I was there I had to commit to that, but it’s more just heartbroken for how everyone is feeling in the team tonight.”
The Spanish Grand Prix takes place at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya on May 13.