Max Verstappen declares ‘typical F1’ as off-track headlines dog Red Bull

Michelle Foster
Team boss Christian Horner and Max Verstappen in the Red Bull garage.

Red Bull have been dogged by headlines during the off-season.

Max Verstappen believes Red Bull’s rivals are trying to destabilise the championship-winning team, but he says that’s “typical Formula 1”.

Red Bull head into the 2024 Formula 1 season chasing a fourth successive Drivers’ Championship title with the Dutchman, as well as a third Constructors’ crown on the trot.

They also head into the new season under a cloud with Christian Horner under investigation for alleged inappropriate behaviour, Ferrari rumoured to be making a play for either Adrian Newey or Pierre Waché, and Zak Brown calling for the end of the Red Bull-RB collaboration.

Are rival teams attempting to destabilise Red Bull?

It’s headlines the team could do without as they prepare to defend the World titles.

Verstappen, though, has brushed it off as rivals trying to destabilise Red Bull.

“That is a constant tactic, one that is always used,” he told the Dutch edition of Motorsport.com.

“That does not only apply to this story but has always been the case and is typical Formula 1. These things are one hundred per cent typical F1.”

He openly admits Red Bull would do the same if the tables were reversed.

“Yes,” he said, “you always try to get your own advantage out of something and you always try to attract people from other teams. That makes a lot of sense.”

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No ‘oh shit’ moment amidst Ferrari rumours

As for the reports Ferrari are once again making a play for Newey, and if they can’t sign the design guru then they want his right-hand man Waché, Verstappen says that too is part of F1.

“Something like that happens all the time, especially if you do it well,” he said.

“Of course, we now also have our own engine program and for that we also bring people in from other teams. That is and always will be a thing in Formula 1.

“It is also not something that makes me think ‘oh shit, what is happening here’. No, it is actually very standard in Formula 1.”

The reigning World Champion revealed he has spoken with those included in the rumours, joking: “Absolutely, then I say ‘you have to stay and I know where you live haha’.”

Although the off-track headlines haven’t been great for Red Bull, on track the team’s pre-season is going well with Verstappen over 1.1s up on his rivals on the opening day of testing.

It has many of his rivals declaring Red Bull not only can’t be beaten this season, they’re even further ahead than they were last year when Verstappen won 19 of 22 races.

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