With his triumph at the Mexican Grand Prix on Sunday, Max Verstappen is not only the sole record holder for wins this season (14), but also helped Red Bull finally secure the first constructors’ title since 2013. So a perfect weekend – not quite: The old and new world champion and his team boycotted pay channel Sky. That meant no interviews or statements from Verstappen, local hero Sergio Perez – who finished third behind Lewis Hamilton – Christian Horner or even Helmut Marko.
Statements by British Sky reporter Ted Kravitz are the trigger. In his TV format “Ted’s Notebook”, which enjoys cult status in the pit lane, Kravitz said in his typical biting manner that Hamilton had been “robbed” of the title by Verstappen in the turbulent season finale of the previous year. The fact that Kravitz said that in Austin on the anniversary of the death of Red Bull founder Dietrich Mateschitz should have been particularly negative in the Red Bull camp.
In Mexico, sentiment between the world champion team and Sky hit a new low when a Sky reporter asked team boss Christian Horner at a press conference about exceeding the budget limit: “The bottom line is that it’s still a breach of the rules. Find that the team is giving fans of the sport and owes your competitors an apology?” Horner reacted noticeably irritated, refusing an apology and instead responding: “We got our fat off, and in a very public way, due to the allegations made by other teams. Our drivers were booed at the tracks. The damage, created for our reputation was significant. This has to stop now.”
After his victory, Verstappen finally commented on the boycott to the English “Telegraph”: “It’s enough, I no longer accept that. You can’t live in the past. At some point you have to leave it behind.” It’s not his first media boycott. He had already refused Netflix interviews for a long time because he felt their documentary series “Drive to Survive” was too “sensational”.
The boycott with Sky is to be lifted again at the race in Brazil.