Philip Duncan, PA F1 Correspondent, Mexico City
Max Verstappen accused Sky Sports of being “disrespectful” and “living in the past” after Red Bull boycotted the broadcaster at the Mexican Grand Prix.
Verstappen and his entire Red Bull team – including Christian Horner – refused to address Sky on Sunday.
Their unprecedented stance came a week after Sky Sports’ pit-lane reporter Ted Kravitz said Lewis Hamilton was last year “robbed” of an eighth world championship.
It is understood Red Bull have grown increasingly frustrated with Sky’s coverage since the contentious Abu Dhabi finale. Sky Sports declined to comment when contacted by PA.
Confronting the subject after he won for a record-breaking 14th time in one season on Sunday, Verstappen said: “It had nothing to do with this weekend, but this year it has been a constant kind of digging and being disrespectful, especially from one particular person. At one point it is enough and I don’t accept it.
“You cannot live in the past and you have to move on. Social media is a very toxic place and if you are constantly being like that live on TV then you are making it worse instead of trying to make it better.
“You keep disrespecting me and at one point I will not tolerate it any more and that is why I decided to stop answering.”
— Oracle Red Bull Racing (@redbullracing) October 30, 2022
Hamilton finished runner-up to Verstappen at last weekend’s United States Grand Prix in Austin after he was passed by the Red Bull driver with six laps remaining.
Following the race, Kravitz said: “(Hamilton) doesn’t win a race all year, and then finally comes back at a track where he could win the first race, battling the same guy who won the race he was robbed in the previous year, and manages to finish ahead of him.
“What a script and a story that would have been. But that’s not the way the script turned out today, was it?
“Because the guy that beat him after being robbed actually overtook him, because he’s got a quicker car, because of engineering and Formula One and design, and pretty much because of (Adrian Newey, Red Bull technical chief) over there.”
Verstappen claimed his maiden world championship after race director Michael Masi incorrectly applied the safety car rules in the closing laps of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
Although Masi was removed from his position, an FIA investigation said the Australian acted in “good faith” but made a “human error”.
Initially, Red Bull said the boycott would be “indefinite”, but Horner indicated on Sunday night that their silence would end at the following round in Brazil on November 13th.
“There were some derogatory comments made, so we took a break from Sky for this race,” he said. “Max was upset, we were upset and we made the decision to stand together as a team.
“It won’t have done Sky any harm for us to lay down a marker. Some of the commentary is fair but some pieces are sensationalist, and saying we robbed anyone of the championship, as was said in Austin, is going too far. It is not impartial or fair or balanced.
“We have said our piece and will go back to normal next time.”
Earlier this month, F1 bosses signed off a new deal with Sky which will see the broadcaster retain exclusive UK television rights until the end of the 2029 season.