Verstappen wants F1 rules to change and teams ‘banned’ after Las Vegas penalty

Max Verstappen sent offer to quit Red Bull and join F1 rival keen to be his team-mate

Red Bull driver Max Verstappen has insisted that his rival Carlos Sainz did not deserve a 10-place grid penalty for a track issue that was not his fault and called for the rules to be changed so that teams cannot vote on punishments. Ferrari were forced to repair their car after Sainz ran over a manhole cover, which led to the infringement.

Sky Sports F1 had previously said that if teams were given a vote on whether to punish Sainz for an issue that was caused by the track and not he or the team, Mercedes would not give them a reprieve as it would benefit their rivals.

Though there is no such rule in the regulations that suggests teams would have a say on such matters, Verstappen wants it to stay that way as they may have ulterior motives while the FIA would remain impartial.

But Verstappen believes that teams should not vote on such decisions and Sainz should have been let off by the governing body. “The rules have to change for that,” Verstappen said when asked about Sainz’s punishment which will see him drop from second to 12th on Sunday. “It’s the same if you get taken out and have a big accident. You can lose parts of engine, energy store, all these kinds of things.

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“So first of all that needs to change and these things can be taken into consideration that you can take a free penalty or not, it will not be counted.

“Besides, I think teams should not be allowed to have a say in these kind of things because for sure they are going to vote against that. I do think it’s very harsh on Carlos but in this political environment we are in of course every team thinks about themselves and they are going to say ‘no, he has to take the penalty’.”

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Ferrari asked the stewards to let them replace Sainz’s energy store using a new component without incurring a penalty, but their request was denied despite the FIA’s attempts to search the rules for a reason not to punish the team.

“The stewards note that if they had the authority to grant a derogation in what they consider in this case to be mitigating, unusual and unfortunate circumstances, they would have done so, however the regulations do not allow such action,” the stewards said.

Sainz, meanwhile, was stunned that he was punished for an issue that was not his fault. “Unfortunately, as the session finished, the team communicated to me that I was taking a 10-place grid penalty for something that I have no fault, and the team have no fault,” he said.

“That changed completely my mindset and my opinion on the weekend and how it’s going to go from now on. I’m disappointed and in disbelief with the situation. You will not see me very happy this weekend.”

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