Christian Horner reveals ‘root cause’ of Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez controversy

Max Verstappen refused to follow team orders in Brazil, hindering his team’s chances of a one-two championship finish.

Coming into the final two rounds of the 2022 season, Sergio Perez and Charles Leclerc were locked in a battle for the runner up spot in the drivers’ championship behind Max Verstappen.

At the Brazilian Grand Prix, Red Bull has a disastrous time, looking significantly off of the pace compared to their rivals and finding both of their drivers outside of the podium positions towards the end of the race.

With neither driver set to score a podium and Perez needing every point available to him, Red Bull asked Max Verstappen to allow his teammate through for the extra couple of points.

The Dutchman explosively refused, claiming that the team know his reasons and suggesting that they should never ask this of him again, sparking drama in what appeared to be a harmonious Red Bull team.

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Team principal Christian Horner has now provided some context for the incident, saying the scenario caught both the team and the drivers by surprise.

“I think the root cause of the problem was we had never envisages being in a situation, being in the final few laps, being in sixth and seventh place in that Grand Prix,” Horner told the official Formula 1 website.

“And I think it was something that, as we hadn’t envisaged it, we hadn’t discussed it, before the race, and I think, that was a mistake on our part, that we should have thought through, or tried to think through every single scenario.

“And so, I think that was a mistake as a team that we didn’t discuss it and come up with a very clear plan. Obviously, it was unfortunate what happened, but it was quickly discussed, openly and transparently. And both drivers were very clear, open and honest with each other, and from that, as a team, we move on and the dynamic between the drivers is absolutely fine.”

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Unfortunately for Sergio Perez, he was beaten in Abu Dhabi by Charles Leclerc, meaning that he missed out on second place in the drivers’ championship.

This fallout in the team led to some fans speculating whether Daniel Ricciardo could eventually replace Perez at Red Bull, should the situation not get any better between the two current drivers.

Christian Horner has quickly shut down these rumours, claiming that Ricciardo’s third driver contract with the team is very specific and he will not be given a race seat as any part of the deal.