Red Bull have hit out at “completely unacceptable” abuse aimed at the team following 2022 Sao Paulo Grand Prix.
A controversial finish saw Perez concede sixth to Verstappen on instructions from Red Bull, who had hoped that the two-time champion could catch Fernando Alonso and Charles Leclerc to snatch fourth.
Unfortunately that ambition failed to materialise and the team instructed Verstappen to reverse position with Perez at the final corner, to help the Mexican in his bid to finish second in the championship which Verstappen ignored, thus attracting criticism from media and fans alike.
A minority of fans however decided to direct online abuse at the team, Verstappen, Perez and respective families, especially off the back of rumours concerning disputes in Monaco and Mexico won by Perez and Verstappen respectively.
Red Bull consequently have opted to issue a statement in which they acknowledged that “some mistakes” were made last weekend, having failed to envisage the last-lap scenario which unfolded and clarified that they hadn’t “agreed a strategy for such a scenario before the race.”
The team also confirmed that Verstappen was only instructed at the final corner over team radio to concede position with little reaction time, as they explained: “Regretfully, Max was only informed at the final corner of the request to give up position without all the necessary information being relayed.
“This put Max, who has always been an open and fair team player, in a compromising situation with little time to react which was not our intention.”
Red Bull also issued praise for Verstappen’s transparent comments post-race to resolve any difficulties, as they concluded: “Following the race Max spoke openly and honestly, allowing for both drivers to resolve any outstanding issues or concerns.
“The Team accept Max’s reasoning, the conversation was a personal matter which will remain private between the team and no further comment will be made.”
Fans though weren’t impressed by the events and took to social media to criticise both drivers as well as the team, with abuse even directed towards families underlining the toxic nature of the situtation that has unfolded.
Red Bull have now come out and described the trolling as “completely unacceptable” whilst also evoking “shocking and saddening” emotions for those who have to deal with the negativity, which they believe is now a “depressing regularity.”
This incident though isn’t the first time that Red Bull have been a target of online abuse in the last 12 months, due to breaches of the budget cap and Verstappen’s maiden title being embroiled in deep controversy due to actions of then FIA Race Director, Michael Masi at Abu Dhabi last season.
The team concluded by calling for action to stamp out online abuse towards those working in F1, as they said: “There is no place for it in racing or society as a whole and we need to do and be better. At the end of the day this is a sport, we are here to race.
“Death threats, hate mail, vitriol towards extended family members is deplorable. We value inclusion and want a safe space for everyone to work in and enjoy our sport. The abuse needs to stop.”