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Zak Brown Accuses Red Bull of Bending F1 Rules

Zak Brown: Red Bull Urged Verstappen to Break F1 Rules

06/07/2024

Zak Brown criticizes Red Bull’s influence on Verstappen and questions Norris’s mild approach in F1.

The war of words between McLaren F1 and Red Bull rages on!

Following Andrea Stella’s questioning of Christian Horner’s “integrity” after his comments on Lando Norris post-Austrian Grand Prix (as detailed in our article), it is now Zak Brown, CEO of McLaren Racing, who takes aim at Red Bull.

According to Zak Brown, by overly defending Max Verstappen, Red Bull’s leadership essentially grants him a license to breach the rules. For the good of the sport, Christian Horner or Helmut Marko should introspect and restrain their Dutch driver when he crosses the line, the McLaren chief suggests.

“It was an epic battle!”

“It’s thrilling for the fans, thrilling for everyone in Formula 1. I think it was only a matter of time before these two clashed. Obviously, it’s an unfortunate outcome from what was very minor contact.”

“But I am also disappointed that a great team like Red Bull… I am disappointed that its leaders encourage this. Because if you listen to the radio, that’s what they told [Max Verstappen to do].”

“We all have a responsibility to instruct our drivers on what should and shouldn’t be done during the race.”

Echoing Andrea Stella, Zak Brown then revisits the comparison between 2024 and 2021. He recalls that in 2021, Red Bull exceeded the capped budget by almost 2 million dollars… notably due to collisions between Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen!

Another swipe at Red Bull: a reminder of their disregard for capped budgets.

“When you can abide by the regulations – and we’ve seen that wasn’t the case with Red Bull, be it financial, sporting or on-track regulations, issues with fathers and the like… if you want to respect the rules, I just don’t think that’s the way we should race.”

“We need to guide our drivers on what is right or wrong – and I think if this issue had been addressed earlier, perhaps this incident might not have occurred.”

Does Zak Brown also have a personal score to settle with Christian Horner, who has spurred the war of words with McLaren F1 and Andrea Stella?

“It’s the role of the FIA. I’m not really interested in speaking with Christian.”

“You see battles throughout the grid… I think we just need regulations that are written in black and white and enforced accordingly.”

Furthermore, does Zak Brown believe the penalty imposed on Max Verstappen was too lenient? The Dutchman was able to finish the race and score 10 points, whereas Lando Norris had to retire…

“You are supposed to give a driver the width of a car and he (Max Verstappen) did not do that.”

“It’s unfortunate – but I thought the penalty issued by the FIA [10 seconds and two points on the license] was the correct one, as that’s what the regulations dictate.”

“Yet again, Max is a terrific racing driver, competing at the front, and it’s our responsibility as a team to inform the drivers of the boundaries that must not be crossed.”

“And if you don’t do that, I wouldn’t expect Max to do anything different.”

Zak Brown also criticizes Red Bull’s defense on another point: Christian Horner has said that Max Verstappen drives hard, and that Lando Norris must get used to it and adapt… end of discussion.

“So, I don’t think it’s fair to say that it’s just Max’s driving. All these drivers are pushing to the absolute limit, as they should. But they have a set of rules to follow.”

“It’s not about completely smoothing over the drivers’ behavior, but about applying and having clearer regulations consistently, whatever they may be. But these are the 20 best drivers in the world, so they can handle anything.”

Is a reform of the stewards necessary?

To learn from the incident at the Red Bull Ring, Zak Brown also calls on the FIA to review its panel of stewards, to appoint permanent and professional stewards. A perennial issue in F1…

“But reflecting on this weekend – I think the FIA agrees on this point – we need to invest more in our stewards to ensure greater consistency in the enforcement of regulations.”

“Having part-time stewards… it’s a very challenging job. It’s quite complex and doing it part-time at the level of Formula 1 is difficult – because Max and Lando were fighting as one would expect, and until someone tells Max ‘this is against the regulations’, he’s not going to know. So, I think the stewards missed opportunities to tell Max he was overstepping the boundaries.”

“Hats off to the stewards who are there every weekend. It’s not a lack of respect for what they do. I think it’s hard to do it part-time. We’re all racing full-time, it’s a major sport.”

Is Lando Norris too kind?

At the Silverstone paddock, Zak Brown was also questioned about Lando Norris’s reaction last Thursday to the accident. In a calm moment, the Brit appeared much more permissive or tolerant towards the Red Bull driver (see our article).

But isn’t this a sign that Max Verstappen may have scored a point in his psychological warfare against Lando Norris?

“No, I don’t think so at all. Show me a world champion and I think ‘ruthless’ and ‘aggressive’ are two apt descriptions of either a world champion or a Grand Prix-winning driver.”

“Lando wants to put last weekend behind him. Some might appreciate a public spat… They have a strong relationship off the track. They’ve talked. What they discussed stays between them.”

“From what I’ve seen, both want to move forward and resume their fierce competition on the track.”

“I am very pleased with Lando! There is a difference between what a racing driver is when the helmet is on and the visor is down, and what he is from Monday to Thursday, in terms of how he communicates and the relationships he maintains. Many world champions are delightful outside the racing car, but turn quite ferocious once the helmet is on, and Lando is no exception.”

Zak Brown Accuses Red Bull of Bending F1 Rules

Zak Brown Accuses Red Bull of Bending F1 Rules. f1 2024 Zak Brown Accuses Red Bull of Bending F1 Rules. Zak Brown Accuses Red Bull of Bending F1 Rules

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