Red Bull driver may have enjoyed a relatively uncontested 2022 season, having wrapped up his second successive world championship.
However, things were a lot closer the previous year as Max was involved in an intense scrap with Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton in a battle that spread till the final Grand Prix in Abu Dhabi.
Both drivers lost their cool at different points in the season and the result was often such that they may have retraced their steps in hindsight.
Red Bull’s Chief Technical Officer Adrian Newey, widely regarded as one of the finest car designers in the sport, has criticised one such reaction from Max.
Even both team bosses at Mercedes and Red Bull struggled to hold back and were involved in heated exchanges. At various times since then, they have admitted that they allowed emotions to get the better of them.
Newey spoke about the events at the Brazilian Grand Prix and then in Saudi Arabia.
“Probably what he [Max] did in Brazil last year was a bit naughty (taking Hamilton off the track by going straight to avoid being overtaken),” he said.
“Saudi was silly but I think he got frustrated with Lewis not overtaking him but he still shouldn’t have brake-tested him.
“But Silverstone to me was a clear professional foul [by Hamilton] and people seem to have a short memory.”
Back then, Red Bull had outrightly denied any wrongdoing on the part of Verstappen intentionally brake-testing Hamilton in the Saudi Arabian GP.
Newey’s claim seems to completely rubbish that earlier stance.
His own opinion also seems to have changed with time on the FIA.
He was critical of the FIA for its regulations that were applied ahead of the 2022 season. He spoke with The Race at the start of the season and explained how the regulations had put all engineers in a very difficult position.
Heavier cars, he argued, were making it tough for engineers to get the required amount of power from gasoline or batteries.
Since then, though, Red Bull clearly demonstrated just how far ahead of the curb it was compared to its competitors.
With that surely playing some part in his thought process, Newey praised the regulations and how it got engineers to think outside the box and exercise some creative freedom.
“I do enjoy reg changes but when I first saw these regs I was quite depressed by them,” he said.
“At first sight, they appear to be very prescriptive. But as you dig into it more then – particularly in the area of the sidepod and floor – there’s actually a reasonable degree of freedom. More than you first think.”