Red Bull Racing F1 team principal Christian Horner has laughed off suggestions his team could adopt team orders, saying Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez would be free to race instead. With Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez already having won one each in 2023, Red Bull Racing appear to be dominating the grid.
The two are the biggest rivals in the drivers’ championship at the moment. Asked about the possibility of Red Bull adopting team orders, Christian Horner laughed: “It’s only the second race.” “Both drivers are very mature, they have worked together so far and they have worked well together. today, but I don’t want to take part. The rules are: the team comes first, respect each other, respect the car they drive.” But the relationship between Verstappen and Perez, which has been strained since last year’s Brazilian Grand Prix has not always been harmonious. Perez let his team-mate through on the understanding that if Verstappen did not make progress, he would relinquish his position. But it didn’t happen. Instead, Verstappen took to the radio to vent his anger at the team. The flashpoint was claimed to be linked to Perez’s crash in qualifying at Monaco earlier that season. Verstappen asked about the fastest lap time, but was told not to worry about it. But he set the fastest lap and scored points for the World Championship. “Obviously, the team’s concern is to increase points and if they feel there is a problem with reliability, of course they manage it,” said Horner. “Max said on the radio that the fastest lap points are very important to him and there is no reason not to let him or the Czech crack it.” Perez later explained that his team told him to chase lap times instead of bonus points. Horner said both drivers were aware of the situation going into the final lap. The fastest lap was definitely in the World Championship standings, with Verstappen leading by one point. F1 is set to host the Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne this weekend. Verstappen retired in the 2022 event, leaving Perez second behind Charles Leclerc.