McLaren and Mercedes bosses gang up on Red Bull over ‘lack of respect’ for F1 rules in Verstappen-Norris rivalry

Max Verstappen and Lando Norris' crash at the 2024 Austrian GP cost both drivers a shot at victory

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Zak Brown launched an extraordinary tirade against Red Bull and Christian Horner over Max Verstappen‘s behaviour when fighting wheel-to-wheel on-track including against Lando Norris, and Toto Wolff didn’t pass up the chance for a dig at his nemesis.

Stewards slapped Verstappen with a 10-second penalty at the 2024 Austrian Grand Prix after causing a collision with Norris that put the Brit out of the race, and his McLaren CEO criticised both Red Bull and the stewards for failing to intervene sooner.

Ahead of that battle resuming one week later at Silverstone, Brown also pointed to Red Bull‘s breach of the budget cap and controversies caused by Jos Verstappen painting a pattern of a culture of disrespect for the rules within the reigning champions.

“I think we need to have respect for regulations and we’ve seen there be lack of respect, whether it’s financial regulations or sporting, on-track, issues with fathers and things of that nature,” Brown told members of the press including Total-Motorsport.com.

“I just don’t think that’s how we need to go racing and we need to guide our drivers on what’s right or wrong and I think had it been addressed earlier. Maybe that incident wouldn’t have taken place.

“So a racing incident that I think could have been avoided if the pit wall and the stewards had maybe been more on top of what the regulations say you can and can’t do.”

Wolff has enjoyed a long-running rivalry with his opposite number at Mercedes‘ biggest F1 foes in his tenure at the helm

“There’s a set of regulations and those regulations give the boundaries to the drivers, what’s on what’s not,” Wolff said. “It’s the same with track limits – you’re either penalized or not and then the same way you race.

“I think regulations may be a little bit vague, or interpretations different from time to time. It’s clear that the really good ones are going to push this as much as they can and then you could end up in similar situations. It’s not only among these two, I mean, we’ve seen it between the Alpines etc, etc.”

McLaren CEO Zak Brown | McLaren

Brown calls for F1 stewarding change

Alongside questioning Red Bull‘s handling of Verstappen, Brown added the F1 stewards needed to clamp down on his racecraft.

Though the Dutchman met with a stern response from the stewards at the Red Bull Ring, Brown believes the incident could’ve been avoided if that response had been made sooner.

“It’s a very difficult job, it’s quite complex to do it on a part-time basis for the level of F1,” Brown said. “Max and Lando were just duking it out as you’d expect them to do and until someone tells Max that that’s against the regulations he’s not going to know any different. So I think there were missed opportunities for the stewards to make note.

“Also disappointed [in] such a great team like Red Bull that the leadership almost encourages it because you listen on the radio and what was said, we all have a responsibility on pit wall to tell our drivers the do’s and don’ts and what’s going on in the race.

Wolff added: “It’s always I tend to agree with Zak take it’s always amusing to see the just one dimensional comments of Team principles, you think it’d be a little bit objective at least.”

Adam Dickinson
Adam Dickinson
An international multi-award-winning journalist, Adam Dickinson has written for Total-Motorsport.com since June 2022 and also contributes to TNT Sports, Eurosport and the Rugby Paper. He's also had articles published in the Daily Telegraph and several local newspapers, previously worked for Last-Lap.co.uk and FeederSeries.net in motorsport, and graduated with a First-Class Journalism Degree from the University of Sheffield having also studied in Oklahoma. Adam started watching F1 by accident in 2007, catching the last race in Indianapolis, and attended his first race as a journalist at the 2023 British Grand Prix.
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