2022 looked set to be an almost flawless year for Red Bull, as the energy drink giants wrapped up both championships with races to space and were in the hunt for their first one-two in the drivers’ championship.
Sergio Perez was locked in a tight battle with Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc for the runner up spot behind Max Verstappen and heading into the final two rounds of the season, every point was crucial to the Mexican.
The Brazilian Grand Prix was a disaster for Red Bull and in the latter stages of the race, both of their drivers were outside of the podium places.
With Perez needing every point available to him, the team asked Verstappen to allow his teammate to pass him for an extra two points, as Perez has so willingly helped out his teammate in the past.
The Dutchman explosively refused and Perez went on to be narrowly beaten by Leclerc in the championship, leading to a hostile atmosphere in the Red Bull camp, with the driver’s relationship on the rocks.
The reason why Verstappen refused to help his teammate is unknown to the media, while team principal Christian Horner has confirmed that the drivers sat down behind closed doors to speak about the incident and have put their differenced behind them.
The Red Bull boss has defended his team’s decision to keep the drivers’ discussion private, claiming that the F1 world is not entitled to know everything that goes on being closed doors.
“I think there [are] certain things that your drivers have the right to discuss in private,” said Horner.
“Not every conversation has to be covered through digital media. The rivers had a good conversation after the race in Brazil. The air was absolutely cleared, you could see that by the time they’d arrived in Abu Dhabi.”
While fans and pundits have suggested that this dispute could spell the end for Perez at Red Bull, with the team being urged to appoint Lando Norris or Daniel Ricciardo to replace the Mexican, Horner has been quick to rubbish these claims.
Horner has told reporters that Red Bull are more than happy with Perez and his partnership with Verstappen, claiming that the team will honour their contract with the 32-year-old until the end of 2024.
Rumours have suggested that Perez’s spin during Q3 in Monaco earlier this year is what frustrated Verstappen, as it all but ended his hopes of a race win as he started the race outside of the podium places.