Ferrari team boss Mattia Binotto has reportedly warned
his Red Bull counterpart, Christian Horner, he won’t take accusations of
cheating lying down.
In the wake of the United States GP, Red Bull driver Max Verstappen accused Ferrari of “cheating” leading to a tense confrontation between the team bosses.
‘legal action’ against Red Bull
While several rival teams such as Mercedes and Renault
have hinted that they feel Ferrari’s power unit may be operating outside the
legal limits, Red Bull has been more obvious about it.
So much so that Verstappen used the word
“cheating” after Ferrari’s form slumped in Austin in the wake of an
FIA Technical Directive relating to fuel flow.
He told Dutch TV Ziggo Sport:
“That’s what you get when you stop cheating.”
His remark did not go down at all well with Ferrari boss
The Italian waited until Horner was done with his
post-race media briefing to approach the Red Bull boss and give him a piece of
MotorLat journalist Yhacbec Lopez witnessed the
“We saw the English journalists in a meeting with Christian Horner and the tension in the air was cut with a knife,” he said.
“I was standing outside the Red Bull hospitality when I saw Mattia Binotto pass in front of a group of journalists and Horner. Mattia watched on closely before he returned to his own hospitality but came back a few minutes later.
“Horner said goodbye to the journalists present and then Mattia headed inside the hospitality and looked for Horner and began a clear, blunt exchange.
“Mattia demonstrated why he is a leader. He spoke firmly to Horner and there were complaints. What I managed to hear was a warning about legal actions.
“Horner explained that he had only shared his opinions and Mattia replied in a strict tone and the level of the discussion went up. Evidently the discussion was full of tension.”
‘Not smart but
Throwing out allegations of cheating without proof is
never a good thing, for those accused as well as for the reputation of the
Even Verstappen’s father, Jos, shook his head when he
heard what his son had said.
However, the former driver told Ziggo Sport that he
understands the 22-year-old’s frustrations.
“I saw it and thought: Oh no!”
“It might not have been the smartest statement, but I do understand Max, because he is very driven and wants to win.
“After the summer break he had a zero percent chance against Ferrari and this weekend there was no difference.
“I think everyone knows that Ferrari used a loophole. It explains why sometimes they are suddenly extremely fast on the straight.
“It perhaps isn’t cheating, but morally it isn’t quite right.
“I’m glad there is clarity now, because everyone was wondering what Ferrari was doing.”
Italian media are
not as understanding
But while Jos may find a way to excuse his son’s
behaviour, the Italian media was not as kind to the Dutchman.
Autosprint wrote: “Simple one: Motor racing is not politics and opinions don’t count.
“Only the truth counts and there are specific, credible and quick procedures to ascertain it.
“This is unsportsmanlike behaviour from Verstappen who said a very serious thing without having or providing any supporting evidence.
“Perhaps the best thing for a driver would be to keep quiet and keep his foot down.”
Motorsport.com’s Italian edition suggested Red Bull need to keep their driver on a leash.
Flavio Vanetti said: “The impression is that he is a character to be kept on a leash, both as a driver and as an external speaker.”
FormulaPassion.it’s Mauro Forghieri reckons the Dutchman should shut it.
“A true champion, a public figure, cannot express himself in that way, he must not allow himself to criticise others like this,” he stated.
“Either he has the courage to substantiate his statement, or he should shut up.”