Verstappen issues humorous warning to Red Bull copycats

Championship leader Max Verstappen joked about Red Bull's F1 development path

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Max Verstappen has joked Red Bull will introduce a no sidepod concept for its next upgrade package to scare rivals away from copying. 

Ahead of the Spanish Grand Prix, Ferrari introduced its new Red Bull-style sidepod concept as part of the team’s upgrade package. Mercedes also introduced a revised concept at the Monaco GP.

“I think our next upgrade will be with no sidepods, then everyone can go back”, joked Verstappen to select members of the media, including Total-Motorsport.com. “But it’s not only the sideboards, it’s a lot of things [which] have come together.

“We learned a lot over the years, and now, with the new regulations, we hit the ground running and understood what was going on. 

“That helps a lot. Hopefully, we can keep [the] momentum going as everyone is pushing very hard to catch up. From our side, we are never satisfied we always want more.”

Verstappen sometimes thinks more about sim racing

Away from F1, Verstappen is a keen sim racer and has participated in events such as the virtual Le Mans and Spa 24 Hours with Team Redline.

In January 2023, Verstappen lambasted the organisers of the virtual 24 hours after several glitches with rFactor 2 put him out of contention for victory, deleting the game as a result.

“It’s my hobby, but I take it very seriously,” said Verstappen. “It never hurts because you always test yourself. I mainly drive other kinds of cars on online platforms and F1.

Max Verstappen leads the drivers’ championship by 53 points heading into the Canadian GP | Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

“You’re always thinking about what I can improve driving-wise but also setup-wise, and that’s what I enjoy. I go to bed probably thinking more about the simulator than I sometimes do, F1.

“It’s difficult to say if it helps me in Formula 1, but it doesn’t hurt, and when I jump back in an F1 car, it feels like I never left.”

Where is the next F1 2023 race?

With the F1 circus finished in Spain, the next race is the 2023 Canadian Grand Prix which will be held at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal over the weekend of June 16-18.

Ed Spencer
FIA accredited journalist
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