Christian Horner discusses decision to support Max Verstappen’s Sky F1 boycott

Michelle Foster
Red Bull team principal Christian Horner and Max Verstappen before the Hungarian GP. Hungaroring July 2022.

Red Bull's Christian Horner and Max Verstappen talk on the grid before the Hungarian Grand Prix. Hungaroring July 2022.

Red Bull fully supported Max Verstappen’s decision not to speak to Sky Sports in Mexico, Christian Horner disappointed with their lack of “impartial commentary”.

Reports emerged on Sunday morning that Verstappen wasn’t speaking to any of the Sky Sports broadcasters, the World Champion said to be annoyed after Ted Kravitz recently used the word “robbed” when referring to the 2021 title fight.

Verstappen confirmed the reports after taking the Mexican Grand Prix win, his record-breaking 14th race win of this season, saying “certainly one person in particular” has been “disrespectful”.

As such Red Bull as a whole made the call not to speak to Sky.

Horner said the team had been left “disappointed with a series of derogatory comments that have been made on Sky.

“There needs to be balance in commentary. Some of the commentary is excellent, but some of the pieces, there’s too much sensationalism.

“We stand together as a team.

“We just want to set an example and show that some things are not acceptable.

“It’s not just about Sky England either, it’s about all of their channels, including Germany and Italy. None of our team members spoke to them this weekend.”

While Horner did not name names it has been reported that it is Sky’s pit lane reporter Kravitz who is at the heart of the boycott.

Speaking in his ‘Ted’s Notebook’ after the United States Grand Prix, Kravitz twice claimed Lewis Hamilton had been “robbed” of the 2021 Drivers’ title.

Horner says that’s not “fair or balanced” commentary.

“I think an accusation of championships being robbed is something that we don’t feel is an impartial commentary,” he said. “That is, we don’t feel, in any way fair or balanced.

“Max was very upset about it, and as a team, we support him fully. We were equally upset about it. As a team, we took the decision this weekend, I took the decision that we’ll have a weekend off.”

Red Bull will be back in front of the Sky Sports’ mics at the Brazilian and Abu Dhabi races.

“It was only for this weekend to express our dissatisfaction that allegations were being made there and that TV was becoming more and more sensational,” he continued.

“The world we live in is always hungry for headlines. The broadcasting stations should also take responsibility for not feeding it.”

Kravitz ended his Austin notebook commentary on Red Bull by saying: “Because the guy that beat him after being robbed actually overtook him, because he’s got a quicker car, because of engineering and Formula One and design, and pretty much because of [Adrian Newey, Red Bull’s design guru] over there.”

That could be seen as a dig at Red Bull’s budget cap breach with early rumours claiming it was Newey’s salary that was part of the reason for the team’s overspend.

That has since been proven untrue, gardening leave, catering costs, sick pay and an unclaimed tax credit behind the team’s $2.2m overspend.

Horner concluded: “I think Red Bull are a cheap target sometimes.”

Read more: Max Verstappen cruises to record-breaking Mexico City Grand Prix victory