Over the past couple of weeks, Scuderia Ferrari was under scrutiny by the FIA following complaints by various teams. To that end, Red Bull driver Max Verstappen is of the opinion that the team’s struggles during the US Grand Prix was related to that.
The upsurge in form was largely attributed to the Ferrari power unit and top speed. Of course, this prompted questions from some teams over how it was possible, given the maturity of the current engine regulations.
Red Bull were one of the first teams to go to the FIA and suggested a potential fuel system solution. They were informed that it would be illegal to run, and a technical directive was issued to all teams.
Coming to the US Grand Prix 2019, Leclerc in the sole surviving Ferrari finished a distant fourth. The Monegasque driver was just shy of under a minute behind eventual race winner Valtteri Bottas. Meanwhile, Vettel was forced to take an early shower after slipping back from second to seventh on the opening lap and breaking his suspension afterwards.
When quizzed about the sudden dip in Ferrari form, Max Verstappen admitted that he wasn’t surprised. He told Ziggo Sport, “Oh that’s not strange. Well why do you think? You can fill it in yourself. That’s what you get when you stop cheating. This has been looked at very carefully, so of course we have to keep an eye on that.”
With 3rd place in Austin, Max Verstappen clawed down the gap to Leclerc to 14 points in the drivers’ championship.
Verstappen continued, “Power you could say? Or grip, I don’t know what it is! We always try. For me of course, only first counts, but it’s still better to finish third than fifth of course.”
Ferrari were convinced that they were innocent and openly invited rivals to lodge a protest. However, fortunately for them, no formal action was taken by the FIA. Ferrari’s troubles began when Leclerc was forced to switch to an older-spec Ferrari power unit after a suspected oil leak in FP3.
Now, Leclerc responded to Verstappen’s comments and hit back at the Red Bull driver.
Leclerc about Verstappen's comments and insinuations: "I think it’s a joke to be completely honest. He has no clue. He’s not in the team. So we know exactly what we are doing and I don’t know why he’s speaking, he doesn’t know anything about us." #F1
— Phillip Horton (@PHortonF1) November 3, 2019