Christian Horner effectively side stepped when asked if Red Bull had looked into Sergio Perez’s Monaco Grand Prix crash after that, it has been said, led to Red Bull’s conflict in Brazil.
Max Verstappen refused to yield sixth place to Perez at the Sao Paulo Grand Prix, telling Red Bull he’d already told them he wouldn’t do it.
“I told you already last summer, guys,” he said. “Don’t ask that again to me, okay? Are we clear about that? I gave my reasons and I stand by it.”
Asked after the race if his decision had anything to do with something that happened in the past, he replied: “Yes.”
Pressed specifically as to whether it related to Perez crashing in qualifying for the Monaco Grand Prix, a move that prevented the Dutchman from improving on his P4 on the grid, he said: “You have to decide that for yourself.”
Horner was asked about that at the Yas Marina circuit on Saturday but refused to confirm or deny it.
“Look it was discussed in private between the drivers and the team,” he told the media, including PlanetF1.
“It was clear between the two drivers, and it’s clear what our objectives are coming into this race.
“Checo has a chance of finishing second in the championship, it has been very tight with Ferrari so it will come down to whoever finishes ahead.”
Pressed as to whether Red Bull had themselves looked into the events of Monaco, the team boss side stepped that with talk of the budget cap.
“Well any crash in a cost cap environment is disastrous, it’s expensive, it’s costly, particularly in a street circuit,” he said.
“So from a team’s perspective it is way, way from an ideal so there was a lot of frustration following that as he damaged the gearbox as well. Then of course incurred a lot of damage with Sainz.
“Thankfully this year that has probably been the biggest accident we’ve had from a cost basis which has a one on one affect on your performance to develop as you have to pick whether you are going to make spare parts or development parts.
“Thankfully the drivers have done a great job of thereafter of managing not to hit things, we probably have the least amount of crash damage compared to other teams.
“A lot has been said about Brazil, there were things we as a team could have done better. We didn’t envisage being in that position.
“We shouldn’t have taken it for a granted and there is always lessons to learn in this sport and it’s a matter of how you apply them.”
Horner insisted all the drama that happened in Brazil was simply a case of the team not communicating to Verstappen prior to the race that they may ask him to move over for Perez.
“The root cause of the problem, we never envisaged being in sixth and seventh places in the final lap of that grand prix. It was something we hadn’t envisaged and as we hadn’t we hadn’t discussed it before the race,” he said.
“That was a mistake on our part.
“We should have thought through or tried to think through every single scenario so that was a mistake as a team that we didn’t discuss it and come up with a very clear plan.
“Obviously it was unfortunate what happened but it was quick discussed, openly and transparently, and both drivers were very clear, open and honest.
“From that as a team we move on.
“The dynamic between the drivers is absolutely fine, the objective this weekend is very clear what we want to achieve as a team as it something we have never done as a team ending the year 1-2 in the Drivers’ Championship would cap off an unbelievable year for us.
“We made some mistakes in Brazil, we’ve learned from that, and as I say we move on.
“These two drivers have performed incredibly well together, putting us in the position we are. Max’s season has been on another planet so we’re not going to let the events of a couple of laps in Brazil dictate the season for us.
“We come fighting into this race and will do the best we can as a team to get the best results we can.”