Red Bull provide Max Verstappen with bodyguards at Mexican Grand Prix

Jamie Woodhouse
Red Bull driver Max Verstappen speaks to the media during the FIA Press Conference at the United States Grand Prix.

Max Verstappen has been the most vocal critic of the sprint format.

Red Bull advisor Helmut Marko has confirmed that Max Verstappen will be accompanied by two bodyguards at the Mexican Grand Prix amidst heightened safety concerns.

In what has been an F1 2023 campaign of Red Bull dominance, Verstappen has inflicted the vast majority of the damage.

Red Bull has claimed 17 of the 18 grand prix victories on offer, 15 of those going the way of Verstappen, who now has four opportunities remaining to break his own record of 15 wins in a season achieved last year.

Red Bull provide Max Verstappen with bodyguards

And while Verstappen is the overwhelming favourite to take victory number 16 at the upcoming Mexican Grand Prix, it is his Red Bull team-mate Sergio Perez who will be looking to impress in front of his home crowd.

There Verstappen would already have been anticipating something of a hostile reaction, but such treatment already started at the US Grand Prix when booing could be heard as Verstappen took to the top step of the podium.

Marko blamed the Mexican fans for this, and informing F1-Insider.com that social media threats were being made against Verstappen even before the US Grand Prix booing, Red Bull has chosen to act.

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While Verstappen was not calling for added protection, Red Bull felt the need to provide it and so the three-time World Champion will be flanked by two bodyguards at the Mexican Grand Prix.

“Max doesn’t really want that and is relaxed,” Marko told F1-Insider.com.

“But we have responsibility for him. That’s why we just want to play it safe.”

Sergio Perez calls on Mexican fans to support full Red Bull team

Ahead of his home race, Perez made indirect reference to the anticipated tense atmosphere which Verstappen could face.

He would request that the Mexican fans get behind the whole Red Bull team, not just himself as he continues his quest to fight through this alarming drop in form and hold on to P2 in the Drivers’ Championship.

“I am optimistic for this week, we know what direction we have to take now so hopefully we get to show that,” Perez said.

“We have a few things to sort out with the car and we should come back stronger. I want Mexico to come out to support the whole Red Bull Racing Team, not just me.”

Perez goes into the race weekend 39 points ahead of Lewis Hamilton in the battle to secure runner-up status to Verstappen.

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