Max Verstappen has confirmed and explained why he has decided to boycott interviews with broadcaster Sky Sports.
Ahead of race day at the Mexico City Grand Prix, it was reported that Verstappen was no longer going to conduct interviews with Sky Sports, his Red Bull team then said to have joined him in this stance.
The decision reportedly related to Sky’s pit-lane reporter Ted Kravitz, who on multiple occasions had used the word “robbed” when referring to the conclusion of Lewis Hamilton’s ultimately unsuccessful 2021 title battle with Verstappen.
Kravitz’s ‘Ted’s Notebook’ show at the previous round in Austin was said to be what swayed Verstappen into this decision, in which Kravitz spoke about “what a script” it would have been had Hamilton beaten Verstappen at the Circuit of The Americas.
And Sky’s coverage of the Mexico City GP race did indeed suggest that the reports were true.
First on his grid walk, ex-F1 driver turned Sky F1 pundit Martin Brundle had the chance to approach Red Bull’s design chief Adrian Newey, but did not.
Then, Sky F1 used mixed-zone interviews for both Verstappen and his team-mate Sergio Perez, while Red Bull principal Christian Horner, who is usually a stonewall interviewee of a race broadcast, was conspicuous by his absence.
Verstappen has now confirmed his stance, saying the broadcaster have been “disrespectful” all year, one person in particular, seemingly referring to Kravitz.
He feels this only worsens the “toxic” environment on social media, so sees these media activities as an unnecessary added burden.
Horner has confirmed that Red Bull will return to Sky Sports media duties as of the next round in Brazil.
This is not the first time that Verstappen has snubbed interview duties, having previously refused to give interviews to Netflix for their ‘Drive to Survive’ series, believing that the show depicted scenarios that were not legitimate.
Max Verstappen over boycot Sky Sports:
🗣️ "Dit hele jaar wordt er al gestookt en zijn ze niet respectvol, zeker één persoon in het bijzonder. Op een gegeven moment accepteer ik het niet meer. De sfeer op social media is giftig. Zo maak je het alleen maar erger." #F1
— Erik van Haren (@ErikvHaren) October 30, 2022
“This whole year they have been firing and disrespectful, certainly one person in particular,” said Verstappen, as per De Telegraaf reporter Erik van Haren.
“At some point, I don’t accept it anymore. The atmosphere on social media is toxic. This way you only make it worse.”
Verstappen then addressed the situation in the post-race press conference, stating: “It had nothing to do with this weekend. But this year it’s been a constant… yeah, kind of like daily being disrespectful, especially one particular person. And it’s enough, I don’t accept it.
“You can’t live in the past. You just have to move on. Social media is a very toxic place, and if you are constantly being like that live on TV, you make it only worse instead of trying to make it better.
“You keep disrespecting me, and at one point, I’m not tolerating it anymore. That’s why I decided to stop answering them.”
While his relationship with Sky Sports is clearly no longer smooth, there was certainly a smooth vibe about Verstappen’s dominant Mexican Grand Prix performance, the Dutchman powering to a 14th victory of the season.
With that, he set a new record for most wins in a season, having tied the previous record of 13, held by Sebastian Vettel and Michael Schumacher, with his victory at the prior round in Austin.