Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Shanghai International Circuit, 2018

Frustrated Verstappen uses radio messages to put pressure on Renault

2018 Chinese Grand Prix

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Max Verstappen says his radio messages criticising the performance of his Renault power unit are intended to put pressure on the manufacturer to improve.

The Red Bull driver complained about his engine several times on the radio on Saturday in Shanghai.

He admitted his frustration with the situation when asked by RaceFans about his comments after qualifying.

“I think it would be a bad thing if it wouldn’t frustrate me, right?” said Verstappen. “I’m here to win races and I think everybody who’s working on my car wants exactly the same thing.

“If I would say it quietly I think I would be racing in GTs because I wouldn’t bother too much.”

Verstappen admitted his remarks were intended “to put a bit of pressure on them.

“Not only in public because what I say I don’t meant to the public, it’s to the guys who are listening to my radio.”

RaceFans believes Red Bull are forbidden from publicly criticising Renault’s power unit under the terms of their contract with the manufacturer. Red Bull’s engines are branded by sponsor TAG-Heuer.

Verstappen said he is still suffering from degradation in his power unit’s top speed when run at high revs, something he complained about last year.

“The gap on the straights were a bit bigger than we expected before we came here,” he said. “But then also from our side just fine-tuning [is needed].

“The power modes were not great. Some of the issues as well I’ve had before, like [getting] close to the limiter, some problems while upshifting and stuff, it just doesn’t really work.”

Verstappen’s radio messages

Final practice

VerstappenOn the exit I don’t know what the [censored by FOM]’s is going on there.
What’s going on Max?
VerstappenAll the time when I push to the limit I’m just losing speed. I don’t want to do another fast lap. I’m not sure it’s healthy. I said this already last year in Baku about same kind of things happening now.

Verstappen“Mate the engine again clipping in turn seven, [censored by FOM].

2018 F1 season

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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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57 comments on “Frustrated Verstappen uses radio messages to put pressure on Renault”

  1. Oh, so he’s doing an Alonso.

    1. +1

      I don’t see how frustrating the under-performing Renault engineers is going to get him a better result! It’s negative and pointless at best, and we’re going to have to listen to this whinging all season :/

      1. Maybe he’s realized he’s locked into a contract, and Ricciardo is out on the market :-) @makana

        1. Unlucky…

        2. He signed the contract. The engine then was less powerful than it is now, so I guess Renault have the right to say the engine has improved.

          1. BTW, do you all know Verstappen was telling the truth concerning his spin in Bahrain? Horner admitted it was a software error from RBR itself… lets wait and see if all haters will admit to their mistake blaming Verstappen ;D

        3. @phylyp Touché. Let’s not also underestimate the influence of RB’s management divisive approach too; when it comes to their relationship with Renault.

      2. @makana

        Maybe he thinks Honda is a better option for Red Bull, so why not lash out at Renault. What will they do? End the contract at the end of the year?

        I really do hope that Red Bull switch to Honda. The reaction on Horner’s and Marko’s faces when they drop to the heart of midfield.

      3. Part of being ‘Frustrated’ is saying or doing things that will have no effect. Both Alonso and Verstappen’s comments show how helpless they are. If their comments are deemed offensive (which Alonso’s were by 50% of fans) then let’s vote to ban the broadcasts so nobody gets upset.

        1. Wow so a driver can’t even express a little frustration over the radio anymore! Oh wait, of course it depends on the driver or the team. Plenty around here happily defend LH for a season of accusing his own team of sabotage. Max, not even in a WDC car, must use diplomacy even on his own team radio. Too much!

    2. Does VES think his complaining will have any effect on Renault? Funny.
      Renault wants Red Bull to go away – the sooner the better as far as they are concerned.
      RBR has to decide by the end of May whether to switch to Honda. The obvious choice is to switch but Honda aren’t exactly the class of the field although they have taken a step forward.
      Max needs to realize that being a great driver, which he hasn’t proven yet, is not a guarantee of getting a great car. Ask Alonso.
      Finally, VES misfortunes pale in comparison to Alonso’s last 3 years. It could get worse and he could spend years in a non competitive car,
      His generation believes they are entitled. Best thing he can do is up his performance and hope Red Bull gets him a competitive engine.

    3. I have a question regarding Hamilton vs Verstappen in Bahrain.

      This is the vid from on youtube. First lap, 40 seconds.

      Alonso comes from far behind and Hamilton is sleeping.
      Then Hamilton realise it, fights back and it is wheel to wheel.
      Then Alonso gives him a little swipe to the left and Hamilton backed out of it
      by opening the steering wheel.

      Am I correct and if yes, where is the difference between Verstappen?

  2. Ad infinitum. This is getting so boring. Let your driving do the talking, you’ve hardly been great this year either.

    1. Well not of it was his fault. The team said that stuff broke from his car during the Australian GP making the car very hard to drive. And it became clear today that the Q1 crash last week was no driver error. Horner sas this explicitly in an interview on Dutch tv

      1. Not all of it I meant

      2. Horner said:-

        Horner said the accident was a result of the Dutchman’s foot jumping on the throttle pedal as he ran over the kerbs.

        In other words Verstappen stuffed up.
        The article ‘Renault engine blameless in Verstappen’s Bahrain Q1 crash’ is on Motorsport .com.

        1. He already backtracked on that statement, saying it was badly translated and putting the blame on their own pedal mapping. Something DR complained about in FP2 yesterday.

        2. You better read the news….Horner admitted it was not Verstappens fault at all. RBR software error

        3. No this has been rectified in an interview this morning on Dutch tv.

          It wasn’t a driver error

          1. Not a driver but still a RBR error, but they do the absolute minimum to let their engine supplier get clean out of it:

            “I was asked the question did the throttle stick open, the last race. No, the thorttle didn’t stick open. We’ve had very poor gearshifts in that area which is a software issue on our side, not the Renault side.

          1. Regardless, he’s not had a stellar season. Australia, maybe nog his fault, but he overpushed, and in Q he could have been p2. Bahrein, Q crash, race hit Hamilton (two at fault, but still). Hardly having last season’s form.

          2. Yes, very scrappy, @hahostolze . Last year we cut him some slack despite not outscoring his teammate for his generally exciting racing. It does seem like he needs to get his head down and put out some consistently impressive performance (needn’t be race wins, just solid racing) to demonstrate he’s not just a flash in the pan.

          3. @phylyp

            I would say he is still doing enough to be in more demand than Riccairdo if his contract was up. I’m sure Max is capable of slowing down and becoming a tactical plodder if necessary. As a race fan I want to see him pushing. He is not going to win the WC with Red Bull before 2021. He’s got nothing to lose.

          4. @bigjoe – I see your point, and I agree that as a racing fan, the spectacle of an all-out Max is definitely entertaining.

            However, as you’ve rightly said, RBR are unlikely to win a championship in the current engine formula. And that “nothing to lose” attitude appears to be showing through in his driving as well. While that is entertaining to watch, it is a form of cheap thrills. I’d like to see a mature drive from him similar to what he did in Brazil in 2016 (that was the drive that made me a big fan of him). Just once or twice. And continue his generally aggressive/strongly-assertive driving. That will in fact make his racing all the more unpredictable – but in a good way.

            Right now, his driving is like he’s resigned as not being able to compete higher than 5th in the WDC, while in reality I’m sure he can target one or two of the drivers ahead of him with careful racing.

        4. God forbid a driver runs over the kerbs

          1. @bigjoe

            “I’m sure Max is capable of slowing down and becoming a tactical plodder if necessary”

            I used to be a big Montoya fan. There was nothing better than seeing him go balls to the wall, he was brilliant. The one thing he wasn’t, was a tactical driver. The raw pace was there, he was probably the fastest natural talent on the grid in that era, but that only gets you so far. Montoya never managed to harness his natural abilities and turn into a World Champion calibre driver.

            Max on the other hand, while possessing similar, if not more, natural talent, has age on his side, and the benefit of having Joos and Marko in his camp. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean that he will be able to tone it down. Max is better placed in many ways compared to the likes of Montoya, but he will still need to work at improving his mental strength to play the long game when required. It even took Lewis a fair few years to hone this.

            Essentially, its up to him, but it isnt a foregone conclusion. Imagine if RBR are forced into Honda engines next year and they end up plodding along in midfield…it can go either way…he becomes a better driver in the face of adversity, or he implodes.

    2. @hahostolze

      Vestappen’s overtake on Lewis in a slower car was more impressive than Lewis overtaking 3 backmarkers and Max is only 1 tenth behind in qualifying today in the blatantly slower car.

      I note as Lewis struggles to get the most out of his car the Max bashing increases. Hopefully he’ll get the luck he deserves tomorrow. Rain would be nice.

      1. @bigjoe

        Max is only 1 tenth behind in qualifying today in the blatantly slower car.

        That’s not how this works. If both Red Bulls are within 3 tenths of both Mercedes, then the Mercedes simply isn’t ‘blatantly faster’ on this track.

        1. +1 nase

          We have an aggregate performance level of each car through the 2 drivers times. On quali pace, red bull are not significantly slower than the Mercedes on this track at this time.

  3. So weak, it has made him spin 3 times and eat a wall..

  4. I can see max spinning off the track again or ending up with damage because he just won’t pull his head in.

    Renault made it quite plain that they were not going to bring performance gains until later in the year.

    Little wonder Dan is looking at possibly moving and RBR themselves are looking closely st Honda.

    We’re in Year 5 and still Renault refuse to chase performance to any significant degree.

    1. I can see Max spinning off the track again or ending up with damage because he just won’t pull his head in.

      What head?

      1. Ask Hamilton

  5. Renault better start thinking seriously not supplying engines to RBR anymore.

    1. That solves the problem…? It’s to Renaults every intrest their preformance is at least reliable which it obviously isn’t.
      Apart from the Renault engine it seems both drivers are complaining about the engine mapping, we heard Ricciardo on the radio and Verstappen + Horner explaing it in interviews.

      Verstappen spin at Bahrain was engine/software related, they needed to calibrate the engine mapping cause the power delivery is way to radical. Fact which are now confirmed by Horner.

      RBR is much closer to the top than last year (1.34 sec to now 0.70 sec), if they get the parts work right than they can fight. Power on the straights is just lacking.

    2. I’m sure RBR would love to get rid of the Renault engines, but right now Honda still don’t have even a podium to their name, let alone a win, and even more importantly, several wins to their name. I’d love to be proven wrong, but RBR aren’t going to even think about using Honda engines without those engines “ticking more boxes” than Renault does.

    3. Not Renault’s option.

      1. @ Matn, Stephen Crowsen, Egonovi:

        I’m not saying Renault’s engine is working without issues, but bashing them every single time is not doing Renault any favours, that’s for sure. I’m pretty sure an engine is good enough for RBR and they’ll stop moaning only when they’ll win champs again. Until then, no engine is good enough: not reliable, not powerful, not enough top speed, not good driveability etc. Horner will find always something to complain about.

        Not so sure it’s not an option for Renault, I mean they’re present as a works team in F1 and they want to win, so a customer that might be in their way is obviously worse. They’re partially divorced anyway since RBR’s engines are not branded Renault anymore. They might pull some strings in order to get back Williams to use their engines or some other team to fill the empty space left by RBR.

  6. He is 100% right. After 5 years it’s safe to say the achievments of Renault in the hybrid era are abdominable, and arguably unworthy of F1. Forget about Honda, but look at Ferrari and the step they’ve made since the end of 2014, when their engines where as bad, or even worse, than the Renault engine. It really makes Renault look bad.
    And he is 100% right stating his radio messages are internal.

  7. RBR being RBR, every problem is engine related and every good thing is chassis related… So far there lack of results are driver related, and (so far…) no reliability issue has been pin pointed on Renault. RBR complain about Renault not delivering something they cannot do themselves is boring to the extreme after so many years.

    Come on Horner, show the worls how a fast a reliable engine is built. Waiting…

    1. So far there lack of results are driver related,

      You obviuously missed a lot of information

      and (so far…) no reliability issue has been pin pointed on Renault.

      Ricciardo ywo times in a row now.. Need more?

    2. I thought that was McLaren…

  8. Andrew Purkis
    14th April 2018, 11:38

    stop whinging Max you took the sugar water companies money

    if you didnt have decent opt outs thats you and your lawyers fault

    dannys gonna get the ferrari drive your stuck where you are

    greed put you here suck it up

  9. I think it is fair enough that some drivers choose to give their honest feedback over the radio on track, while they experience the issues and while everyone on the teams pitwall can check for themselves. The method will work very well in some organizations or cultures – I suppose it doesn’t work towards a Japanese manufacturer, who insists on solving all issues and problems without help from the outside. Reading Brawns book made it clear for me, that Honda must change and embrace assistance from the outside if they are to regain their dominance from the 80-ties.
    But I don’t hear Verstappens complains as directed towards Renault, but just as much towards the engine mapping, the integration into the car. If You want to be the best in the world, You need to be able to push everyone to improve and not settle for “good enough”. Verstappens comments may be able to direct more ressources towards improving the engine and the powerpack integration in the car and the driver HMI, to make it more drivable. A driver who quietly accepts a sub-optimal car, will never reach for the podium, but of course You could argue that he shouldn’t do it on the radio – I think it is good entertainment and give us fans more and better insight.

    1. Verstappens comments may be able to direct more ressources towards improving the engine and the powerpack integration in the car and the driver HMI, to make it more drivable. A driver who quietly accepts a sub-optimal car, will never reach for the podium

      Bear in mind they have a massive debrief after the session/race. So, any feedback that is not tactical or not addressable via a pit stop is something that is best deferred to the debrief (such as tweaking the engine mapping/software).

      You could argue that he shouldn’t do it on the radio – I think it is good entertainment and give us fans more and better insight.

      I do get that drivers do need to rant a bit to get stuff out of their system (as we do on the roads), and it is insightful in a way for us. However, for someone to rant in such a calculated manner is not nice.

  10. Well TAG heuer should really up their game on engine development, cause they´ll miss the days of RBR not saying a word if everything goes according to plan.

    I predict RBR leaving in 2021, and the team will be called aston martin afterwards. I don´t think didi is in it for being a mclaren-like joke. Grand Prix Driver showed me a team leadership lacking the humility a quality team needs, and showing bunches of the grandeur which is the start of the end of a really successful team and not mclaren of the past 10 years.

    1. If only their engines were as good as their watches!

    2. Why is MCL a joke? What you see happening to teams that struggle is the normal flux of running an F1 team that does not build their engine. Remember that MCL began this phase of their history when Mercedes decided to become an integrated team. Ron was correct when he gambled on monopolizing Honda….too bad Honda under delivered over the engagement….switching to Renault was the only good option to get a positive delta in results which they are having.

      1. Looking at the season so far on pace McLaren were as much to blame hence they are a joke. Their car is woeful and has been for over half a decade. They have fallen by the wayside and are in a race to the bottom with Williams. They talk like a title contending team when they are far closer to the back of the grid.

    3. Please. Aston Martin can not afford to fund an F1 team, certainly not to the extent that Red Bull does. Particularly since Aston Martin is likely going to have external pressures on their financial performance that are different than those of today.

  11. Verstappen is getting frustrated because he wants to be World Champion this year.. it looks obvious it wont happen, Redbull just slightly slower than top 2, and Verstappen over driving and making mistakes.

  12. Little Alonstappen at McBull just pointing out engine clipping and lack of power. Trying to compare it to a GT car, because he never raced in GP2.

    But then look at what STR can do with a Honda,…

  13. Crash Max, the new Crybaby Alonso in the neighborhood … what a waste of talent…

  14. I like how everyone has simply forgotten Max’s talent and has chosen to remember him just for his crashes. Ah well, take it as you want to.

  15. When things are going well he is driving like there is no tomorrow and crashes, and complain about reliability all the time when he cant drive like a mad man… he need to learn to hold some of those horses pulling the bull under him… it s not helping him at all… if he wants to show himself he should go wheel to wheel not wheel to the grave! never worked for anyone…

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