Max Verstappen says Red Bull’s motorsport consultant Helmut Marko refused to let him take part in the team’s upcoming demonstration run at the Nurburgring Nordschleife.
Sebastian Vettel will drive the infamous, 20.8-kilometre, 172-turn track in a Red Bull RB7 of the type he used to win the 2011 world championship. Daniel Ricciardo is also due to take part in the event.
However Verstappen said Marko made it clear the team’s star driver would not be allowed to take part.
“I wanted to do it, but I was not allowed by Helmut because he knew that I would try and go to the limits,” he said. “I would have loved to do it.”
F1 cars rarely tackle the formidable circuit, which last held a round of the world championship in 1976. But Verstappen, who is on course to win his third consecutive world championship for the team and is contracted to drive for them until at least 2028, said he didn’t want to “start unnecessary issues” by demanding the team let him take part in the event.
“I find it quite funny,” he explained. “I heard this thing was coming up and Helmut, we were sitting at the table when it came up usually, and he said “no, no, no, you’re not doing that.”
Asked whether he would have attempted to beat the track record – a 5’19.550 set by Timo Bernhard in the Porsche 919 Hybrid Evo, a modified WEC car – Verstappen said “I would have definitely given it a go.”
However he pointed out Vettel and Ricciardo will have to use special demonstration tyres for their appearance at the circuit, which limit performance. “You need not the demo tyres, you need some proper tyres, which is not allowed,” he said.
Verstappen said he is eager to tackle the circuit one day. “Ideally, that would have been amazing in an F1 car,” he said. “But if it’s not allowed in an F1 car, probably one day in a GT3 car or whatever.”
“It’s also risky to drive here,” he said in the paddock at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, “it just depends how you hit a barrier. But that’s normally not the plan, of course.
“But hopefully one day I can do it.”
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