F1 disagreements with Verstappen ‘part of the game’

F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali insists any disagreements with Max Verstappen are all part of the game

F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali insists any disagreements with Max Verstappen are all part of the game – Image: Russell Batchelor/XPB

F1 CEO and president Stefano Domenicali has no qualms if there are any disagreements with Max Verstappen over the future direction of the sport, insisting they are simply “part of the game”.

Reigning two-time F1 champion Verstappen, who is on course for a hat-trick of titles this year, has in the past pulled no punches when it comes to his thoughts on the direction F1 has taken at times.

Notably, Verstappen has been very critical of the sprint, especially this year following another tweak to the format.

It led to Verstappen going so far as to suggest earlier this year that he could quit F1 if the calendar continued to expand and the format continued to be altered.

Asked on the Beyond the Grid podcast whether Verstappen was a difficult driver to manage and his outspoken comments of concern, Domenicali replied: “No, honestly, I’m not concerned at all. It would be wrong to not cover the personality of the driver.

“You can have different opinions, but at the end of the day, we have to take responsibility for having the bigger picture.

“You need to consider that every one of us has a bigger role to play and the growth of the sport, the growth of this business, is connected to this vision sometimes.

“Our sport is the leader in how we engage our heroes that are the 20 drivers in the sport. No other platform is engaging with the fans, the sponsors, the media, with everyone, so close with the race.

“It’s a great recognition of how everyone is involved in the growth of the sport.

“(So) I’m not worried because I think I have a very good relationship with Max. We talk and I would never interfere in the choice of his future.

“But if there is something that for the benefit of the sport I have to take, and Max doesn’t like, I will try to explain. If he doesn’t agree, it’s okay. That’s part of the game.”

Verstappen enjoyed the 41st victory of his stellar career at the weekend in Canada, equalling the feat of three-time champion Ayrton Senna.

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner suggested Verstappen could now be spoken of in the same breath as some of the all-time greats of the sport.

Assessing how good Verstappen is at present, Domenicali said: “I would say the numbers speak for themselves.

“I don’t like to compare drivers of different generations because things are different, but in terms of driving skills, in terms of approach to the races, it’s impressive.

“Of course, he has an incredible car that highlights his value, but for sure he is one of the best drivers ever. There’s no doubt.”

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