“Isn’t going away” - Verstappen-Perez ‘trust issues’ to continue in F1 2023?

The “trust issues” between Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez are likely to spill over into the 2023 season, Sky’s F1 team have predicted. 
(L to R): Sergio Perez (MEX) Red Bull Racing and Max Verstappen (NLD) Red Bull Racing in the post qualifying FIA Press
(L to R): Sergio Perez (MEX) Red Bull Racing and Max Verstappen (NLD) Red…

Verstappen and Perez were at the centre of a Red Bull team orders row in Brazil when Verstappen, who had already sealed his second world title, refused his team’s request to allow Perez through into sixth place to boost his bid to seal runner-up spot in the F1 drivers’ championship

Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc ultimately beat Perez to claim second spot in the championship behind Verstappen at the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. 

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It was widely reported that Verstappen’s actions stemmed from his belief that Perez had intentionally crashed during qualifying at Monaco earlier in the season, costing him a shot at pole position and potentially the win. 

Speaking in Sky Sports’ F1 2022 season review, commentator David Croft said he believes irreparable damage has been done. 

“There has to be trust issues there,” said Croft. “You need to be able to trust your team and as a driver, trust your team-mate.

“Whatever went on in Monaco, and the assumption is that there was something about Checo’s crash that wasn’t misfortune, shall we say? If it wasn’t an act of misfortune, there is a trust issue there.

“And in the back of your mind, I don’t care who you are, you’re thinking ‘will they do that again? I don’t see how it gets repaired.”

Sergio Perez (MEX), Red Bull Racing and Max Verstappen (NLD), Red Bull Racing Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 21,
Sergio Perez (MEX), Red Bull Racing and Max Verstappen (NLD), Red Bull…

Sky F1 presenter Natalie Pinkham echoed Croft’s view, adding she doesn’t feel the issue is simply “going to go away”, despite Red Bull’s best efforts to repair relations. 

“They did a good job in terms of boosting team morale, they had that big team photo out in front of the garage in Abu Dhabi,” she explained. “It was certainly all talking the talk and presenting a united team.

“I’m not so sure, I mean, those sorts of moments live long in a racer’s memory, and clearly Monaco was indelibly inked on Max’s, because to remember what Monaco did to you, and use it in a battle for sixth and seventh all those months later, it clearly bothers him, this isn’t going to go away.”

‘Perez needs to lift his game’

Meanwhile, ex-F1-driver-turned-pundit driver Karun Chandhok reckons Perez needs to up his performances if he wants to have any chance of fighting Verstappen for a maiden world title. 

The Mexican took just two victories while Verstappen won a record-breaking 15 out of the 22 races on his way to finishing a massive 149 points clear of his teammate in the final standings. 

“I, putting my driver hat on can tell you, I still remember drivers who have blocked me on a qualifying lap in 2007,” said Chandhok. 

“I think we’ll only find out the true damage done by Brazil next year at a moment where Checo is asked to help Max and I think that is going to be interesting.

“But ultimately though, Checo has got to lift his game, because he only outqualified Max three times this year, all three on street circuits, one of them Monaco, perhaps a bit of an asterix as well. 

“He’s got to lift his game if he’s going to be in a position to fight.”

(L to R): Race winner Max Verstappen (NLD) Red Bull Racing celebrates on the podium with third placed team mate Sergio Perez
(L to R): Race winner Max Verstappen (NLD) Red Bull Racing celebrates on…

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