Tensions appeared to boil over for Purple Bull on the finish of the 2022 Method One season, between drivers Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez Jr. With Verstappen having already clinched the Drivers’ Championship, he was instructed to provide approach to his teammate close to the tip of the Brazilian Grand Prix, as Perez was locked in a battle for second within the Championship with Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc.
Verstappen didn’t give method, resulting in frustration from each drivers on the finish of the race. Whereas the crew, based on Workforce Principal Christian Horner, buried the hatchet earlier than the 12 months’s remaining race, questions nonetheless stay concerning the relationship between Verstappen and Perez.
Questions that surfaced once more when Verstappen talked just lately about how some drivers shouldn’t dwell in a “fairytale world.”
Nevertheless, Horner believes the crew has carried out a very good job at placing the incident behind them. In a latest interview with Speedcafe TV, Horner addressed the incident at Interlagos, and spoke about his two drivers.
“I feel there’s sure issues that your drivers have the fitting to debate in non-public between themselves. Not each dialog needs to be coated via digital media and so forth. The drivers had a very good dialog after the race in Brazil, the air was completely clear, you could possibly see that by the point they’d arrived in Abu Dhabi, and I feel this has been an outstanding pairing for Purple Bull.
“The success that they’ve achieved over the past couple of seasons, their joint efficiency reaching our first Constructors’ World Championship this 12 months, the primary in 9 years, has been a exceptional efficiency by each of them and I’m positive shifting ahead, they’re going to be delivering as they’ve carried out the final couple of seasons.”
However the Purple Bull boss additionally sang Perez’s praises. Requested about managing the connection between his two drivers, Horner talked at size about what Perez brings to Purple Bull:
“They’re each fairly grown-up people they usually each have an open relationship with one another. So when if ever there is a matter, it will get mentioned, it will get placed on the desk and also you discuss it via. I feel communication is all the time the easiest way to take care of any situation and you already know, Sergio is an skilled man, he’s been round a very long time. He’s a really rounded man and Max [is] very a lot a straight shooter as nicely, and the 2 of them have all the time, you already know, loved an honest relationship and I simply see that persevering with.”
Past the incident in Brazil, Horner additionally talked concerning the challenges posed in the course of the 2022 season, beginning with how late within the 2021 12 months the title was determined. Horner mirrored on how they “got here late to the 2022 automobile,” and that Ferrari had probably the most aggressive automobile early within the season. He gave credit score to Verstappen for holding the crew in competitions firstly of the season, whereas the crew labored to improve the automobile every week.
The Purple Bull boss additionally mentioned the return of Daniel Ricciardo to the crew, as a reserve driver for the 2023 season. “For him to play a supporting position to our race drivers as our third driver, each again right here within the manufacturing unit, and at occasions with all of our business companions now we have, as one of the vital recognizable faces at present in and round Method One, for us it made a variety of sense.”
However Horner additionally brushed apart notions that Ricciardo could be returning to the grid for Purple Bull anytime quickly, outlining how Ricciardo’s reputation in the USA is a big a part of his position with the crew. “…with the business calls for that now we have, the myriad of sponsors and companions that now we have, notably with a a lot larger presence within the US the place Daniel is now predominantly primarily based, with three Grands Prix there subsequent 12 months, he’s gonna have a busy agenda for the season forward.”
Nonetheless, the connection between the 2 drivers on the high of the crew will stay a spotlight for Purple Bull, and the game, within the weeks and months forward. Horner asserts that the incident at Interlagos is actually carried out and dusted, and the 2 drivers might be pulling collectively the upcoming season. And he has a variety of proof to that time, as Perez has been a high quality teammate for Verstappen over the previous few seasons, and with Purple Bull having received their first Constructors’ Championship since 2013, issues did work final 12 months.
But there are nonetheless potential fault traces, together with latest feedback from Purple Bull advisor, and former F1 driver, Helmut Marko. Marko just lately instructed Street & Observe that a part of his job is to inform Verstappen’s teammates that they can’t beat him. In one other interview with Auto Motor und Sport Marko flatly acknowledged “Perez is an excellent Method 1 driver, however he’s no Verstappen.”
No matter the place the connection actually stands proper now you may guess that the media — in addition to the opposite groups — might be searching for any signal of a breakdown at Purple Bull within the weeks and months forward as nicely.