When the two Red Bull drivers collided in Baku, it was obvious that they crossed the Rubicon. Now, team principal Christian Horner has said that Max Verstappen’s and Daniel Ricciardo’s race engineers will intervene in their Formula 1 battles in future. But only if things got out of hand.
The team have stressed, time and again that both drivers are free to race. But, of course, everything has a breaking point, hopefully for Horner’s sake and sanity, it doesn’t come to that.
“We’ll let them drive free,” said Red Bull advisor Dr Helmut Marko. “However, in future we will tell the race engineers that they will have to intervene when we see that it could escalate again.
“The two of them have spoken. There is no bad blood. You don’t have to talk about it anymore. The book is closed.”
According to Marko, the situation was different between Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber when they were teammates. He was referring to the incident at the 2010 Turkish Grand Prix where a similar outcome was seen. Marko said that Vettel and Webber did not have such a strong relationship.
“Ricciardo and Verstappen actually get along very well,” he said.
“This was not the case with Vettel and Webber back then, nor with Senna and Prost [at McLaren in the 1980s], nor with Hamilton and Rosberg [at Mercedes in the 2010s].
“In Baku we got the tyres into the operating temperature too late, the undercut didn’t work, that’s why the emotions boiled up [as Verstappen got back ahead of Ricciardo during the pitstops].
“[Ricciardo] was too late on the brakes, but Verstappen could have prevented the accident by avoiding him.”
He admitted that Verstappen must prioritise finishing races now.
“Max knows now – when the next incident occurs, the blame is automatically on him, whether he can help it or not, because he’s been involved in so many collisions lately,” said Marko.
“We also need the points. Next time he’ll have to think more about what to do, so in an emergency, you’d better give in.
“He doesn’t need to slow down his speed or change his approach; just getting the car to the finish line is the main task at the moment.
“Max is confident enough to handle it. It will not change his future success, we expect.”