Max Verstappen has criticised Toto Wolff for his comments regarding Red Bull’s success, claiming the Mercedes chief should “appreciate when a team is doing well”.
Red Bull has thoroughly dominated proceedings in 2023, romping to victory at all 14 rounds to set a new Formula 1 record for the most consecutive wins by a team.
Meanwhile, Verstappen registered his 10th straight win last time out at Monza, becoming the first driver ever to string together such an unbeaten run.
But, speaking after the Italian Grand Prix, Wolff downplayed Verstappen’s accolade, arguing it’s “irrelevant” and for “Wikipedia”.
Although Verstappen acknowledges the circumstances which led to Wolff’s outburst, the reigning champion believes he should be more respectful of Red Bull’s achievements in the same way the Austrian camp was at the height of Mercedes’ reign at the top.
When asked ahead of this weekend’s Singapore Grand Prix about Wolff’s quotes, Verstappen retorted: “No, I’m not disappointed in that. They had a pretty s**t* race so probably he was still pissed off with their performance.
“He almost sounds like he’s an employee of our team sometimes. But luckily not.”
“I think it’s just important that you focus on your own team. That’s what we do as well. That’s what we did in the past as well when we were behind them when they were dominating.
“You should be able to appreciate when a team is doing really well which I think we’ve done in the past because it worked also as a kind of inspiration.
“To see someone that dominant was very impressive at the time and we knew that we just had to work harder, try to be better and try to get to that level. And now that we are there we’re very happy that we are there and we’re enjoying the moment.”
Race winner Max Verstappen (NLD) Red Bull Racing RB19 enters parc ferme. 03.09.2023. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 15, Italian Grand Prix, Monza, Italy, Race Day.
Looking ahead, the Dutchman is anticipating tougher competition from Red Bull’s rivals this weekend as he goes in search of a maiden victory at the Marina Bay Circuit.
“I think we just are not as competitive as at other tracks,” he said. The street circuits are a little bit tougher for our car. I still think that we can do a good job, but it will be very tight.”
He later added: “Normally street circuits, Singapore, it’s always a bit more of a risk, a bit more chaos. But we are here to win and we’ll try to do that.”
Aside from changes to the track layout with the removal of the sequence between Turns 16-19, this weekend will also see the first test of the FIA’s latest technical directive.
It relates to the clampdown on the illegal use of flexible wing components to aid aerodynamic performance amid suspicion some teams have been exploiting this area.
Verstappen, though, is confident that the new ruling won’t hamper Red Bull’s competitiveness in any way.
“I don’t think it will,” he added when asked about the directive. “We never had any flexible front wing or whatever so I don’t think it will hurt us.”
Red Bull arrive in Singapore with a 310-point advantage over second-placed Mercedes and the opportunity to wrap up a second consecutive Constructors’ title.
Verstappen believes that the Austrian outfit has always operated to a top standard since he joined midway through the 2016 season, but asserts that the team has never enjoyed as competitive a car as it does currently.
“We always had quite a high-level performance as a team, but we just didn’t have that good a car I think up until this year,” he contended.
“Of course last year already the car was very good. The years before we were close but winning here and there and not fighting for the Constructors’ [Championship].
“But I think everything really came together, we understood this new regulation really well and when you have good people in every single position you can achieve something like you are witnessing right now.”
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