Max Verstappen, Toro Rosso, Singapore, 2015

No fall-out over team orders – Verstappen

2015 Singapore Grand Prix

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Max Verstappen says there has been no fall-out over his failure to follow an order from his team during the Singapore Grand Prix.

During the final laps of the race Verstappen was told on more than one occasion to let his team mate Carlos Sainz Jnr through to give him a chance to attack Sergio Perez. He refused, but after the race team principal Franz Tost agreed Sainz hadn’t been close enough to Verstappen to justify the call.

“I can tell you nothing has changed in our relationship,” said Verstappen when asked about the incident during today’s press conference.

“I was trying to overtake Checo, I was very close, I was looking in my mirrors as well. It didn’t feel for me he was close enough to give it a go so I decided to stay there.”

“At the end we had a conversation about it in the team. Everything has been cleared, we’re ready to go here in Japan.”

Verstappen suggested the team could improve its radio communications in the future.

“I think we needed to be a bit more clear on the radio,” he said. “We spoke about it and hopefully it will not happen again, but we’ll see.”

2015 Singapore Grand Prix

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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31 comments on “No fall-out over team orders – Verstappen”

  1. Hi!

    So it’s a bit weird isn’t it? VER sees no problem whatsoever to require that SAI let him through when he thinks he’s faster (and to pass SAI once he agrees to slow down, as was done in some previous race if I’m not mistaken), but the reverse does not work. How come! I’ll tell you what: if really his father would have kicked him had he let SAI pass, then he should also have kicked him when he asked on the radio that SAI let him through in previous races. Otherwise it’s really a poor education, and I am sorry for VER (as a young adult) that he receives such an education. I can only hope he’ll get over it in his life as a man (and maybe, who knows, even as a pilot at some point).

    1. Yes you are mistaken, the only time Sainz let Verstappen pass was when they were both on different strategies and not 2 laps before the end of the race. In Singapore they were both racing for positions and during the overtaking of both Lotus cars Max showed he was not only quicker but also a lot cleaner (Sainz overtaking by pushing Grosjean and himself of the track).

      Max never asked on the radio to let him pass, he once made a remarke he was being held up by Sainz, which race i do not remember.

      The whole kick in the balls remarke was just a figure of speech, and is taken way to seriously by both press and fans.

      The interview with Tost after the GP should have ended the whole discussion. The radio transcript from the race even said the team changed their mind during the race after the NO! by verstappen with the following message: OK to go and push on Perez, push on Perez one more lap.

    2. What part of the explanation VES gave is unclear to you?

      When VES arrived at the tail of PER, SAI was about 3 seconds behind. Only after 2 more laps SAI joined VES and he didn’t make clear he was much quicker by following close or showing himself in Verstappens mirrors at braking points. SAI was by no means more able to pass PER than VES. So good call by VES in the heat of the battle.

      1. Hi,

        As far as I understood after the race, the plan of the team was that SAI will try to attack PER and give back the position if he does not make it. Maybe it was a bad idea, maybe the team was right to change the call. What I do not understand is why it would have been so bad to let your team mate try this, yet so good to try it yourself when the situation is the other way round. I don’t argue that VES would be right saying: ‘situation is different, he’s not on my tail, are you sure?’ but it’s not about that. It’s about the fact that VES does not seem ready to follow a team strategy, yet he seems to be very keen to follow it when it’s at his own advantage. Which I find somewhat weird. (And probably not a decent way to lead a life (for those who wonder, this is in an abstract way, it may not at all apply to VES :-) ).

        1. When you are at work drinking a nice warm coffee in a comfortable seat at your desk, it’s a good time to discuss certain unrighteous issues with your boss.

          When you’re driving 300kph in the darkness on a bumpy street circuit in 50deg Celsius, recovering from – 1 lap dead last, and now fighting for 7th position which is 0,5s in front of you with 2 laps to go, pushing him to make an error…

          When VES had a free track, he was faster than SAI. So why let him try to get PER if you can’t do it yourself?

          1. Yes, all of that, plus he’s only 17 years old! If Max wasn’t slightly rebellious, then I would be concerned for his future, but he’s clearly driven to drive.

  2. “I can only hope he’ll get over it in his life as a man (and maybe, who knows, even as a pilot at some point).”

    Haha, some people really need to get over their ignorance! :)

    Btw, the race where VES stated he was being held up was Hungary, Sainz did push off Grosjean as well, and ‘kick in the nuts’ is regional figure of speech where Jos and Max live, the beautiful province called Limburg.

    1. Probably I didn’t write clearly :-)

      My point was not that much about VES, who I do not know and just see driving, than the way of thinking (raised by the situation he’s been involved in): if I can benefit from team strategy/order, I’ll gladly too it (3 times apparently for VES, although some seem very keen to remember only one, don’t know why), but if it does not benefit to me, then not only I don’t do it, but it would be an heresy to do so. That’s the impression he gave me with his declarations. My point was to extract this way of thinking from the situation to say I appreciate a more fair behaviour, somehow. Now, this may or may not apply to VES (generally, or even in this particular case).

      Given the reactions, though, F1 community seem to strongly disagree with me :)

      1. I think that if team mates have an understanding before a race (a gentleman’s agreement), it should be binding to the drivers involved. But in the heat of battle, no driver should have such decisions made for them. My favorite example of a gentleman’s agreement being upheld happened in 1979 at Ferrari. I am not sure if Seb had actually agreed to “multi-21”. But I am sure that Verstappen didn’t need to let Sainz through. In fact, his team probably distracted him with that (very public) message.

  3. Sainz:

    “Everything is okay. It has all been discussed, it has all been clarified. I think both have no problem with anyone, and I think it was more the team and Max who had to clarify things between them. It has been done as far as I know, and everything should be normal here.”

    “My approach will not change. I now know more what Max is about. He like to plays a bit more maybe the bad boy role, and I kind of knew it, but he has now demonstrated this. But it will not change. I’ll keep trusting them and if they call something I will trust them. He didn’t trust that I was going to let him by at the end of the race. And if you are not completely sure you don’t do it. But we had this discussing in Monaco and he should know. I would have done it.”

    “You always have to show a bit of selfishness if you really are a champion, but in my own opinion I think the best thing you can do is to listen to the team. I’m a team player and I think I’ve showed it from the beginning. Every time the team asked me to do something I told them yes. At the end of the end I rely on these guys, on Red Bull, on Toro Rosso, and my future relies on them. So if I turn my back on them I know that I’m not going to go anywhere. I think I’ve behaved, but when I need to be selfish I will be, but so far I’ve never had the opportunity to show it because I’ve trusted them and every time they’ve called for a swap I’ve done it.”

    “In Malaysia, on the last stint when Max overtook me, it was not an overtake, I let him by. And everybody was ‘Ohh, what a great move’. I let him by. Then in Monaco I moved out too. There was another one that I don’t remember now, but there was one more.”

    1. Just thinking: If SAI said this… Isn’t it a disqualification of is own capabilities? I mean, obaying teamorders is one thing, but if in 10 races you’re already 3 times being asked to make room for your (quicker) teammate…

      As a VES-fanatic, I really think VES and SAI are almost equally fast, but these kind of quotes (happily) make me think VES is on the winning team-battle hand. SAI seems to be fairly unlucky in his race-tactics, regularly costing him spectacular gains at the end of the race, like VES showed us couple of times now.

      1. He’s not being asked to make room because he’s slower though. Remember Monaco. Sainz was faster in quali, but dropped back because of weighbridge. Verstappen had a looong pit stop. And they found themselves back to back, with Verstappen on softer tyres.

        To you both looks equally faster, but you think their quotes show one of them got the upperhand in intra team battle, and that Sainz is unlucky with race strategy. Then that makes you happy for MV?

        1. It looks like Sainz is a slightly faster qualifier than Verstappen. But Max’s race pace seems better. At least his results are better, and that is what counts. I cannot remember a race where people were praising Sainz’ driving, whereas Max had about 4 of these (China, Monaco, Hungary and Singapore).

          Sainz’ above quote can be interpretted as complaining, while Max on the other hand seems untouched by the hole situation and openly speaks and follows his own instincts. He seems honest; maybe arrogant, but honest. Nice people don’t win the WDC.

          This is the reason why I have the feeling this team-battle is tipping to Verstappens side. And I am happy about that.

      2. You lost me at the “VES-fanatic”.

      3. You’re brought down by your own logic. You, MV fanatics, as you called yourself, say that CS wasn’t really quicker in Singapore despite his fresher tires, so MV was in the right no to let him past. So what proves that MV was really faster than CS in those 3 times?

        Also, this idea that MV is faster than CS is disproven by his inabilty to find an answer to CS pace during qualy. CS would’ve obliterated MV in SGP qualy too if his dash was working so he could see that he was already 8 tenths up on the time needed to progress to Q2 and not push beyond limits in the final sector

        So, is MV is the new Button instead of a new Senna in your opinion?

        1. I bet Max would settle for at least the one World Championship.

  4. I’ve always hated with passion drivers who are OK when being given advantage by team orders but aren’t prepared to give the same thing when asked. This is hypocrisy at it’s finest

    So, Max should be prepared to the fact that at any time in the future he asks to be let past Sainz, Sainz will say “No!”. What goes around comes around. The wisest saying is “Take what you want and pay the price”. I’m fine with MV taking what he wants, as long as he understands what the price is and is prepared to pay it

    1. I suspect that MV knows the price he will have to pay better than anyone. He continues to put pressure on his seventeen year old self, and then perform.

    2. Because every situation is exactly the same in all bar one detail?

  5. I wonder if Verstappen sleeps with his eyes open?

  6. The whole issue is that in this instance the TORRO-ROSSO team is completely at fault here.
    It is them that made the call – they retracted from it immediately after the race by their own comments.
    And it is because of this call that there suddenly is animosity between the drivers.
    As Max stated in the drivers conference – there was a complete lack of explanation as to why they wanted the swap.
    They never mentioned to him that he would get his place back if Sainz did not pass Perez.
    To follow instructions without thinking about it – you may as well turn the cars into drones – and have no drivers at all.
    Listening blindly to every command without thinking is what they did at the Battle of the Somme in 1916 – and look what happened there – but the Generals came home I suppose.

    1. Ha, I never thought I would get a history lesson from comments on F1F, but you’re right the team screwed up.
      Specifically Franz Tost, as team principal he should’ve realised what the engineers were trying to do and overrule their decisions, he said in the post race interviews that Max was right so why didn’t Franz tell his engineer to shut up if he was sitting right next to him in the pitwall? I don’t know it all seems very strange to me.

      1. I am still unclear as to who gave the order. Was it the team principal? Was it Sainz’s engineer? Surely, it wasn’t Max’s engineer!? I enjoyed this last race for reason’s other than MV’s charge, but this story is holding my interest due to the questionable future of Toro Roso. I imagine that MV will be able to take along certain team mates if he so desires.

      2. I get F1 lessons every other day (at least) by reading the F1fanatic comments :)

  7. I done some digging just because I enjoy facts over fan-fiction.

    It now turns out there are only 2 instances (not 3 or 4) where Sainz let Verstappen pass, one in Monaco and one in Malaysia.

    In Monaco Verstappen passed Sainz while trailing Vettel on lap 54, 20 laps to the finish, Verstappen was on fresher tires and faster compound. Verstappens laptime were at least 1.5 seconds faster until he got stuck behind Grosjean, we all know how that ended.

    In Malaysia Verstappen passed Sainz on lap 48, 9 laps to the finish, Verstappen was on fresher tires and faster compound. Verstappen’s laptimes were 1.5seconds faster.

    Now the thing Sainz seems to forget is Spain where Verstappen let Sainz pass on lap 62, 4 laps to the finish, Sainz was on fresher tires and faster compound, Sainz laptimes were 0.5seconds faster. Verstappen lost out on points doing so, this may have even been the reason he denied orders in Singapore (speculation).

    Now we have Singapore, on lap 60 Verstappen got the order to let Sainz pass, less than 2 (yes two) laps before the finish, Sainz was on 1 lap fresher tires never being noticeably quicker than Verstappen, he could not catch up until Verstappen got stuck behind Perez, if Verstappen would have let Sainz pass with little over a lap to go, Sainz would have been 1.2 (at least, time based on gaps on lap 60) behind Perez, no drs and Perez with a Mercedes powered car, no chance he would have been able to catch Perez, let alone overtake Perez, saying he would discredits Perez.

    I have no idea who at Toro Rosso thought this would be a great idea to grab 2 extra points he would have been on top of my list of people getting canned, it shows incompetence as a team and creates unnecessary friction between your drivers.

    So long story short good call by Verstappen to ignore team orders, no one in their right mind would jump of a bridge when ordered and screw me once (spain)…, would it have been 5 or more laps and Sainz would have been noticeable quicker it would have been a different story.

    Sources used: this site for radio transcripts and fia for laptime/history charts etc.

    1. It was Sainz’s own idea according to himself in the Spanish press. Only now I have read he’s attacking the team and Tost about it.

      I would think he’s really pushing it right now. He might be at Toro Rosso because he’s got the backing of CEPSA (they wanted to withdraw before season ’15, but stayed because of Sainz), but seeing Horner coming out publicly in the Guardian the day after the race saying Verstappen is a contender for the ’17 Red Bull seat, I think Sainz isn’t doing himself any favours right now.

      1. Spanish press is not the best source for facts, they believe the whole world is against the Spanish.

        Sainz is a great talent but what I read from more trustworthy sources and interviews you can clearly see he is not used to not being in the spotlight and it is eating him, I hope he gets over sooner than later but if I was a runnig a team I would sign him based on what he can do with a car now and the potential he has to grow.

        Best for Verstappen to ignore his antics and focus on himself from how level headed he comes across no doubt he will never let Sainz get under his skin.

        A lot of uncertainty with Red Bull, if they are still in F1 the same way they are now and Verstappen improves with the same curve next year like he did this year I can see Verstappen replace Kvyatt or Ricciardo in 2017 but a lot can happen in between, there is no certainty in F1, ask his father.

        1. Verstappen his talent won’t disappear. No worries about him having not the same talent as only a handful other drivers in having a very good raw race pace (and because there are only a few of them on the grid, and one is getting old and the other one also isn’t going to be in F1 forever, talents like him won’t be thrown away).

          His dad was not so talented as him. He was more in the category who are just below the only handful really fast ones, and from those there are a dime a dozen.

          Kvyat and Sainz are the ones who have to worry if Red Bull really would quit (which I don’t think they will), but Ricciardo and Verstappen will be fought over by Ferrari and Mercedes. And even if they have to be stalled for a short period at other teams first, they will be alright.

  8. I done some digging just because I enjoy facts over fan-fiction.

    It now turns out there are only 2 instances (not 3 or 4 as Sainz stated after the race) where Sainz let Verstappen pass, one in Monaco and one in Malaysia.

    In Monaco Verstappen passed Sainz while trailing Vettel on lap 54, 20 laps to the finish, Verstappen was on fresher tires and faster compound. Verstappens laptime were at least 1.5 seconds faster until he got stuck behind Grosjean, we all know how that ended.

    In Malaysia Verstappen passed Sainz on lap 48, 9 laps to the finish, Verstappen was on fresher tires and faster compound. Verstappen’s laptimes were 1.5seconds faster.

    Now the thing Sainz seems to forget is Spain where Verstappen let Sainz pass on lap 62, 4 laps to the finish, Sainz was on fresher tires and faster compound, Sainz laptimes were 0.5seconds faster. Verstappen lost out on points doing so, this may have even been the reason he denied orders in Singapore (speculation).

    Now we have Singapore, on lap 60 Verstappen got the order to let Sainz pass, less than 2 (yes two) laps before the finish, Sainz was on 1 lap fresher tires never being noticeably quicker than Verstappen, he could not catch up until Verstappen got stuck behind Perez, if Verstappen would have let Sainz pass with little over a lap to go, Sainz would have been 1.2 (at least, time based on gaps on lap 60) behind Perez, no drs and Perez with a Mercedes powered car, no chance he would have been able to catch Perez, let alone overtake Perez, saying he would discredits Perez.

    I have no idea who at Toro Rosso thought this would be a great idea to grab 2 extra points he would have been on top of my list of people getting canned, it shows incompetence as a team and creates unnecessary friction between your drivers.

    So long story short good call by Verstappen to ignore team orders, no one in their right mind would jump of a bridge when ordered and screw me once (spain)…, would it have been 5 or more laps and Sainz would have been noticeable quicker it would have been a different story.

    Sources used: this site for radio transcripts and fia for laptime/history charts etc.

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