Karun Chandhok believes there is ‘still a real problem’ at Red Bull with team dynamic

Sam Cooper
Max Verstappen explains to Sergio Perez in testing. Barcelona February 2022

Karun Chandhok believed there was still trouble brewing at Red Bull even after the team attempted to put the Sao Paulo incident behind them.

Red Bull’s damage control team went into overdrive last weekend after Max Verstappen disobeyed team orders at Interlagos and refused to let his team-mate Sergio Perez pass him.

The Dutchman said he had his reasons and ahead of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Red Bull posted a statement saying the team was together and that the incident had been resolved.

They also condemned online abuse of the drivers and team members and Verstappen revealed on Thursday that members of his own family had been targeted by trolls as well.

Whether the attempted cooling of the temperature by Red Bull translates onto the track this weekend remains to be seen but one man who has not been convinced is Chandhok.

He described a recent photo of the Red Bull team together as “putting lipstick on a pig” and suggested there was a “real problem” within the team.

“I think that is putting lipstick on a pig,” he told Sky Sports. “I think there’s a real problem.

“What happens when they’re wheel to wheel the next time out and there’s a team order? Does either driver comply? Do they keep this in the back of their minds?

“There’s been a lot said. It’d be fascinating to hear from Christian [Horner] and Helmut [Marko] and understand what conversations they had behind the scenes in the last five days to try and resolve the situation.

“I think when the helmets are on and they are wheel to wheel on track, things could be a little bit different.”

In the wake of the incident, Chandhok accused Verstappen of making a “short-sighted decision” and said it was now up to the individuals to decide how to move forward.

“I think they need to decide,” Chandhok, who took part in 11 F1 races, said. “They need to decide internally as a team and as individuals.

“Are they prepared to draw a line under everything and say ‘Okay, what’s the past is the past. We’ve all made mistakes, we’re all going to move forward.’

“Ultimately, can the drivers accept that? Because they’re the ones in the cockpit in control of those situations.

“As much as the team can say what they want, they have to decide. I think they can’t wait to have cars on track and so they can stop having to talk about it, and just get on with the action.”

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