Max Verstappen shuts down Ted Kravitz over Red Bull exit speculation

Sam Cooper
Max Verstappen

Max Verstappen insisted there was no hidden meaning behind his radio message.

Sky’s Ted Kravitz poured more petrol into the fire of F1 rumours when he suggested that a long-time Red Bull engineer may be on his way out of the team.

After his sprint victory in Austin, Max Verstappen was heard saying “Well done Manning, great job there” over the team radio which Kravitz pondered whether it was a farewell message to the long-time engineer Michael Manning.

The Irish engineer perhaps did not help matters when he gave a rather vague response to Kravtiz’s line of questioning.

Max Verstappen denies Red Bull staff exit

After the sprint race, Kravitz sought out Manning to ask him what the message meant and received a puzzling message back.

“Michael Manning, the Irish engineer for Red Bull, was just outside the office and I said to him ‘Alright, Michael?’. I know he’s been at Red Bull an awful long time,” Kravitz said in his Notebook show.

“‘What’s happening, are you off?’ And he said ‘No comment, that’s confidential.’

“And if Michael Manning is off and he’s just not telling us then, well goodbye Michael Manning. Thank you and goodbye.”

But Verstappen has denied any such exit, saying he said well done simply because he had finally had a good start off the line.

“Yeah, it’s my start guy,” Verstappen told the media in a press conference.

“I mean, the poor guy has had a few tough races, so I was just joking, like that it wasn’t too bad this time.”

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With the team performing as well as they are, it is not often a Red Bull staff member chooses to leave. The most recent noteworthy example is chief engineering officer Rob Marshall who will depart the Milton Keynes outfit to join McLaren at the start of next year.

But even in Marshall’s case, the decision to leave for a rival was not met with any ill will. Team boss Christian Horner thanked the long-time servant and wished him well in his career.

“We would like to thank Rob for everything he has done for the team over the past 17 years,” Horner said. “His work on the generation of cars that gave us four incredible championship doubles between 2010 and 2013 was truly outstanding.

“In the years since he has continued to be a key figure at the team and in 2016 took on the broader role of chief engineering officer which has seen him involved in other projects across the business.

“His influence will be missed but once again we thank him for all he has done and wish him the very best in his new role.”

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