Max Verstappen says Toto Wolff would have changed his tune if it were his Mercedes car damaged in Las Vegas, following his rant at a journalist criticising the drain dramas that wrecked Carlos Sainz’s race weekend.
It is safe to say that Formula 1’s inaugural Las Vegas Grand Prix got off on the wrong foot, with FP1 lasting for less than 10 minutes before being red flagged and thrown out.
Sainz’s Ferrari required a rebuild after sucking up a water valve early in the session, with FP2 delayed until 0230 local time while repairs were carried out, the fans ushered out of the stands for “logistical” reasons as the extended 90-minute session took place without them in attendance.
Max Verstappen critical but unsurprised by Toto Wolff stance
While Ferrari boss Fred Vasseur understandably had a very strong feeling on the matter, Sainz receiving a 10-place grid drop for a battery change that was not his fault, it turned out Wolff also had a clear and fiery opinion.
When a journalist described those events as a “black eye” for Formula 1, Wolff lost his cool.
“Completely ridiculous, FP1, how can you even dare try to talk bad about an event that sets the new standards to everything?” Wolff vented.
“And then you’re speaking about a f***ing drain cover that’s been undone. That has happened before! That’s nothing, it’s FP1!
“Give credit to the people that have set up this Grand Prix, that have made this sport much bigger than it ever was. Have you ever spoken good about someone and written a good word? You should about all these people that have been out here. Liberty has done an awesome job and just because in FP1 a drain cover has become undone, we shouldn’t be moaning.
“The car is broken, that’s really a shame. For Carlos, it could have been dangerous. So between the FIA and the track and everybody needs to analyse how we can make sure that this is not happening again. But talking here about the black eye for the sport on a Thursday evening, nobody watches that in European time anyway!”
Verstappen acknowledged that loose drains are not a new issue to crop up on a Formula 1 street track, though that does not mean grounds for criticism was not there.
And if it had happened to Mercedes, Verstappen said Wolff absolutely would have been up in arms on the opposite side of the fence.
“That is true of course, that it happened before, but you’re supposed to learn from that,” Verstappen told Viaplay in response to Wolff’s rant.
“You know that when you go to a street circuit, such things could cause problems. So you should be prepared for that.
“And I think if it was his car, he would have spoken differently. But I don’t expect anything less from him.
“We would have been very angry too, like Ferrari. Absolutely, the entire car is ruined. Carlos also said that he didn’t feel his legs for a couple of seconds, so the accident could have been a lot worse.”
Ferrari would have secured a front-row lockout if it were not for Sainz’s 10-place penalty, the Spaniard instead set to start from P12.