Red Bull team principal Christian Horner says Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez are “very clear” about where they stand after the team orders controversy at the Sao Paulo Grand Prix.
Verstappen refused to return a position to Perez on the final lap of the race at Interlagos despite multiple request from Red Bull for him to do so, saying on team radio that he’d previously explained why he would not move over. After animated discussions in the Red Bull offices on Sunday night, Horner says the situation has been clarified for both drivers as Perez fights Charles Leclerc for second place in the standings.
“We discuss these things internally, the drivers have obviously spoken about it as well,” Horner said. “They’re very, very clear. For us, Checo is now tied on points with Charles, Ferrari didn’t switch their cars around and we go into Abu Dhabi as a team to do the very best that we can for Checo to achieve that second place and Max will fully support that.
“We discuss it as a team, we discuss it behind closed doors, we’ll discuss it in a larger group in the debrief later. I think the bigger discussion will be why were we missing the pace this weekend. But the important thing that is addressed, it’s all dealt with, above the table and as a team we move on.”
Despite watching Verstappen ignore a team order, Horner says he doesn’t feel the world champion believes he is bigger than the team.
“No, we work as a team, we race as a team,” he said. “Our objective and priority is to see if we can get Checo to finish in a runner-up in the championship. It’s something we’ve never achieved as a team before, and Max has given his commitment as well that we’ll be doing the best in Abu Dhabi to achieve that. So it’s a straight fight between Checo and Charles, and if Max can help in anyway he will do.”
Horner insisted the focus is on securing second place for Perez at the final round, as F1 returns to the scene of the controversial 2021 title decider.
“Checo’s done a phenomenal job all year and he deserves that second place, and I think that as a team we will do our very best to support that, to achieve that in Abu Dhabi,” he said.
“I’m not going to go into what we discussed behind closed doors. The drivers have discussed it and they’ve shaken hands and we’re absolutely focused on that next race.”