Verstappen opens up on speculated rift with FIA stewards – “Even when I saw them”

Red Bull driver Max Verstappen denied any rift with the FIA stewards, saying he had his issues with them, but it was never personal.

Verstappen was one of the most punished drivers in 2021. Although he won the title thanks to a questionable call from the FIA, he was never on their good books throughout the season.

The Dutchman was frequently handed penalties for his role in various incidents, most notably for causing the collision with Lewis Hamilton at the Italian GP. He was also hit with another one for his role in the chaos at Jeddah.

However, Verstappen denied any rift with the FIA stewards, saying he never held any grudge against them.

“Overall, I had a really good relationship with the stewards, even when I saw them. There is no bad blood there,” he said, as quoted by Planet F1.

“There are always things, for example we are also looking at how we can improve as a team for next season. It’s quite natural to look at everything.”

Max Verstappen's Red Bull on top of Lewis Hamilton's Mercedes at the Italian GP. Monza September 2021.
Verstappen (right) caused this collision at Monza. Source:

Gotten away

However, the 2021 World Champion has also escaped punishment in 2021. The most notorious incident was at the Brazilian GP, where the FIA controversially refused to give him a penalty for clearly running another driver off the track.

More surprisingly, they later came out and said that they did not have access to Verstappen’s onboard footage at the time. This led to heavy backlash from fans, upon which they requested for and inspected it.

As quoted by GP Fans, when asked if the FIA’s decision was just bad timing, Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff said, “No, I don’t think there is such thing as bad luck in motor racing, I think it is elbows out.

“In the past, sometimes there was a common-sense buffer that didn’t exist (in Brazil), but it is all to the dot within the regulations so you need to respect it, you need to acknowledge it is a fierce fight with several entities, or stakeholders, involved and take it on the chin.”

Read more: Wolff reveals fear of defeat after Hamilton’s DSQ – “If you lose, it’s not a success story”

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