Former F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone still keeps a close eye on the inner workings of F1 despite losing management of the pinnacle of motorsport racing.
Ever since Liberty Media bought rights of the sport from him, the ecosphere of F1 has changed considerably.
Liberty Media has helped push the sport to a wider audience through smart alliances with Netflix, which has led to a massive increase in fan following, especially in the United States.
Red Bull driver Max Verstappen is currently the man to beat on the circuit, but Ecclestone believes that the Dutchman should not even be involved in the sport.
Ecclestone feels Red Bull needed to be more bold in sacking Verstappen for blatantly disobeying team orders.
What annoyed Bernie?
The incident took place at a time when Verstappen had already wrapped up the world championship and it was his teammate Sergio Perez who was looking to make it a 1-2 finish for Red Bull in the drivers’ standings.
However, Verstappen refused instructions given through his radio that instructed him to allow Perez to pass him.
It led to a bitter aftermath and there were plenty of heated words exchanged between the teammates.
It is believed that there is a brewing hatred between them as well which could open the door for recently-appointed reserve driver Ricciardo to find a full-time seat soon.
Red Bull boss Christian Horner has discussed how the two drivers have sorted out their differences since the incident and are now on the same page.
This particular story, however, comes from the mouth of former F1 driver Hans-Joachim Stuck who discussed a phone call he had with Bernie following the incident.
What did Bernie tell Stuck?
The 92-year-old Ecclestone was absolutely appalled to see the manner in which Verstappen disobeyed his team.
“He was very clear there. If one of his drivers hadn’t followed such an instruction, Bernie would have thrown him out,” Stuck said.
Stuck feels that Verstappen broke the golden rule that all F1 drivers must follow.
“From my point of view, it had to do with a lack of discipline. The first commandment in Formula 1 is to follow the team’s instructions unconditionally, because the drivers have signed a contract,” said Stuck.
Verstappen himself was quick to brush off the incident, claiming that his team knew exactly why he had behaved in the manner that he did.
He vowed to help Perez get the second spot if the opportunity presented itself in the final race of the season in Abu Dhabi.
As things turned out, Charles Leclerc was too good on the day and did enough to claim a second-place finish in the drivers’ championship.
Read more: Christian Horner credits Max Verstappen for ‘finding additional gear’ to win second successive world championship