Verstappen: Have guilty party foot the repair bill

Michelle Foster
Max Verstappen driver press conference. Belgium August 2021

Max Verstappen wearing a Red Bull cap with his head down during a driver press conference ahead of the Belgian GP. Belgium August 2021

Twice hit by Mercedes drivers in two races, Max Verstappen reckons getting the guilty party’s team to pay for the crash damage would mean “fewer stupid” moves in the future.

Red Bull entered Formula 1’s summer break counting the cost of back-to-back crashes for Verstappen, and one for his team-mate Sergio Perez.

Verstappen’s RB16B was severely damaged at the British Grand Prix when, fighting with Lewis Hamilton for the lead, the Mercedes driver touched his back wheel as they raced through Copse.

A 51G impact left Red Bull with a $1.8m repair bill.

Two weeks later the Dutchman was again in trouble, this time at the Hungarian Grand Prix when the other Mercedes, Valtteri Bottas, caused a multi-car collision on the opening lap.

Verstappen’s Red Bull was damaged while his team-mate Sergio Perez’s was punted into retirement, both the car and its Honda engine out of commission.

Team boss Christian Horner asked who’d be footing the bill.

“Is he [Toto Wolff] going to pay the bill?” he told Sky F1. “It’s racing… but the consequence for us is brutal and in a cost-cap environment that needs looking at by the FIA.”

The cost to Red Bull was compounded as the team lost the lead in both championship races, Verstappen eight points behind Hamilton and Red Bull trailing Mercedes by 12.

Verstappen agrees with his boss that something needs to be done.

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“I think we should talk about this in Formula 1,” he told Dutch publication AD.

“If someone hits you and you have to replace a part and get a penalty, that’s not how it should be.

“There should be a bit more leeway there. You could also do it like if there is damage caused by someone else, you are allowed to take new parts.

“This is something we need to have look at, especially when you are so limited with engines and all the other parts, and with a budget cap as well.”

The Dutchman put forward his suggestion for a solution, have the guilty party’s team cover the cost of the repairs.

“And if the team has to pay for any damage to someone else, you may also get fewer stupid actions in the first round,” he continued.

“Then you’d think more about the possible impact for yourself and the team.”