I’d kick out a driver who refused to race after a crash – Verstappen

2020 Bahrain Grand Prix

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Max Verstappen rejected a suggestion drivers should be given the option of not continuing to race after a serious crash.

Today’s Bahrain Grand Prix was red-flagged for almost an hour and a half after Romain Grosjean crashed heavily at turn three.

Grosjean was shown to have emerged largely unscathed within a few minutes of the crash happening. However drivers including Sebastian Vettel and Daniel Ricciardo raised concerns over the number of replays of the crash which were broadcast by Formula 1 during the suspension.

However Verstappen dismissed the idea drivers should be given the option to pull out of races after serious crashes happen.

“I don’t get why you wouldn’t race,” he said. “If I would be the team boss I would kick him out of the seat.

“If the guy wouldn’t race, if I would be the team boss, I would tell him ‘then you never sit in the seat again’.”

Responding to the same question, Lewis Hamilton said the question of whether it’s safe to race is a matter for the sport’s regulators, not the drivers.

Romain Grosjean crash, Bahrain International Circuit, 2020
Grosjean’s fiery crash horrified the paddock
“We’re not the safety regulators,” said Hamilton. “We’re here to do a job and we rely on the FIA who are aware of safety and we trust them implicitly. So no, I don’t think so.”

Last year’s Formula 2 race at Spa-Francorchamps was cancelled, along with the following day’s race, after a crash which claimed the life of Anthoine Hubert. Jack Aitken, who was involved in the race, said drivers should not be expected to compete following major incidents.

Responding on social media to Verstappen’s comments, Aitken said: “I don’t wish upon anyone the experiences that would make him realise how wrong he could be.”

“It’s not anything more than saying we’re all human, and that scene was traumatic, especially not knowing Romain’s condition immediately,” he added. “We’re here to race, yes, but not under any circumstances. Knowing he was okay certainly made it a lot easier for them, I’m sure.”

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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...
Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...

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89 comments on “I’d kick out a driver who refused to race after a crash – Verstappen”

  1. He has a point.
    If you are scared to race then get another job.

    I have another job …….

    1. Yes and if a driver dies nobody cares and should continue racing or what?
      Utterly stupid Crashtappen. The king of the crashes speaks again, if it was him who was on the accident we’ll have seen how he cries…
      More late he’ll complain about raining conditions not being safe, safety car being slow, that his tyres are bla bla bla.
      I think he isn’t aware of how much he cries an complains about everything.

      1. Verstappen was answering the question about a crash, not a fatality…. give him some credit people.

      2. If someday dies then the FIA would not continue with the race. That is what happened to Hubert incident last year.

        Max is referring to situations where the FIA deem it safe to continue but some drivers refuse to continue racing.

      3. Sorry Alex, but you react to something Verstappen never said. You really didn’t think this through at all.

      4. alex You’re way off base with your uninformed comment. Perhaps study up on the 1994 San Marino GP when Barricello had a viscous crash that nearly killed him during Friday practice, then Roland Ratzenberger died in a crash during qualifying, then Senna died during the race on Sunday…the point being… with all that horrific tragedy, they completed the race.

      5. Guys, I think we have Rott in disguise.

    2. I think there is a difference between “after a crash” vs “after a death”. Luckily it was the former, but it so easily could have been the latter.
      I think there is also a difference between “being scared” and “being mentally / emotionally unfit to race”.
      This was an horrendous crash, but was also a freak accident. It wasn’t like 5 people had crashed badly at the same corner because of a dangerous kerb.
      Possibly some people needed a bit of time to get over the shock of seing a car being ripped in two, but ultimately they all saw him walk away, so would have had some reassurance. I don’t think a single driver would have considered pulling out.
      Had he not made it, I don’t think this would be a discussion for people to be outraged at, because we would not have had a race.

  2. Appalling comments by Verstappen, the very same kid that drives so fast and he can insult people without apologises.

    He just wanna do « the man » but appears weak on this one.

    1. The man that complains about everything. He’s one of the most babies in the grid. Crying and complaining about everything. Next time he cries raining conditions, or about everything, we’ll remember his own words to answer him.

      1. You sound a bit of a baby yourself Alex. You obviously have a problem with Max but you do yourself no favours. Max is perhaps not the only one who should be quieter. Embarrassing.

    2. It seems Verstappen does not have the ability to swerve around certain questions, like that time when -sitting alongside Vettel- in a post-race session, he was asked if he could hear his cheering fans,He bluntly says ‘no’; Vettel quietly tells him to “just say ‘yes'”.

      Verstappen just comes across as rude.

      1. Hiland (@flyingferrarim)
        30th November 2020, 1:25

        @faulty
        Not a big Max fan, but I don’t think he’s a “rude” person… I think he’s just very blunt and straight forward (no filter from what is in his head). Doesn’t mean he’s mean, rude, or emotionless. It’s just his personality and one many people do not like. Kimi is loved and is very much this way as well. Just that Kimi is more soft spoken and a man of few words. And has less opinions about everything than Max, lol.

        Now, Max isn’t wrong with what he said. The race will go on as long as the track is deemed safe for competition (FIA’s responsibility to ensure that). This is a sport that ALL these drivers (and those at the amateur level) sign on for knowing the risks involved (no matter how devastating at times)! Nothing will prevent these freak accidents from happening (thankfully Romain came out of it fortunate) so these risks will always be around! If accidents like these make a driver scared to get back into the car… that is a good sign that they probably should get out of the sport!

      2. At least he is honest. And not parroting what the PR people tell him to say… Very genuine

  3. I think drivers should only refuse to race if the conditions are unsafe. The track is up to F1 standards, the cars have never been safer. No reason not to race.

    1. I actually think that it takes great courage for any driver to speak up and admit that they feel they are not up to it or fit enough @paeschli.

      But as Paul di Resta rightly mentioned during the Sky after the race interviews, a driver who is not 100% on it, fit and focussed on driving really should not be getting into these cars and drive one. It’s dangerous enough as it is even if everyone is fully focussed and fit.

      1. @bascb it does remind me of what Max Osley noted about MotoGP and the fact that most riders there feel compelled to race – even when they might not have fully recovered from an injury or suffering from mental health issues (the latter apparently being a rather more common issue than MotoGP seems to want to admit to) – because they are scared that, if they do not, the team will punish them or fire them because they would be perceived to be “weak”.

        To some extent, I wouldn’t be surprised if the same thing applies here – that the drivers would feel under pressure to race because they might be worried that, if they did not, they’d be seen as “weak” or “uncommitted” and would be punished by the teams for doing that.

        1. If you force one of your workforce to drive in a unfit mental state and they had an accident you could be liable for serious compensation claims. Likewise firing a driver for being too unwell to drive (physically or mentally) could lead to serious legal action. This is simply the response of a poorly educated young man with little real world experience in managing people. No need to rake him over the coals for it though, I’m sure with hindsight he’ll realise how silly the remark was.

          1. @slowmo the MotoGP series has allowed riders to continue riding when they were badly injured – there was a case of one rider who was sent out by his team even though he was obviously concussed, and that was after he’d been sent to the circuit’s medical centre.

            Whilst ostensibly forcing somebody to do something in that state could result in legal action, that series does still have a very “macho” culture that does tend to coerce riders into doing things they shouldn’t. To some extent, it is a problem that exists across a wider spectrum of motorsport and the comments by Max are a product of that culture.

        2. Almost certainly it does Anon. That was why I found it commendable when Perez stepped out of the race last year, (or is it already 2 years ago?) in Canada when he felt a slight dizzyness after suffering a bang on his head before.

          It was also something that came up with Indycar and McLaren after Askew had his accident in Indycar and was cleared to race in Mid Ohio, but in the end they drafted in Castroneves since he reported dizzyness.

          Personaly I think Stroll might not have been wholly fit to race in two weeks after his Covid infection either.

          We really have to protect these athletes from themselves here, with strict protokolls IMO.

          1. Agree with both your points to be fair guys, the drivers would rarely have the common sense to stop themselves as Brundle has alluded to before that he has driven when suffering concussion.

  4. Whooooooooa Max. Whooooooooa.

  5. Sounds like Jos talking. Or Marko.

    I guess logically he is right. It was a freak accident and thus nothing has changed and F1 is as safe as the day before. A professional driver should be able to overcome the acute emotion or walk away for good.

    1. Totally sounds 100% like Jos when he says this.

    2. I think Ricciardo made the best point. It has nothing to do with not wanting to race, it has everything to do with timing. Why show the drivers such a crash over and over again. There are families of racers, marshalls, … looking at those pictures, all of them knowing there other half/dad/brother/ … Will be out there in a few minutes time, all for the sake of viewers. They could have just shown it after the race, nobody would’ve complained if they did.

  6. Always the diplomat, Max. Apparently he also told Ziggo Sport when asked about the performance of his team mate: “He was 40 seconds behind me when the safety car came. So it was not that good at all. I’m allowed to say that, right”?

    https://www.nu.nl/formule-1/6093582/verstappen-niet-blij-met-strategie-en-albon-na-tweede-plek-achter-hamilton.html

    1. So basically he was right then.

    2. Why are you offended by that? He is right or not? He is the most honest guy on the grid in my book!

  7. They are driving the safest racing machines ever.
    Yes, racing is dangerous but is more danger ous to have a crash with your everyday car at 80 km/h than an F1 car at 200 km/h
    We drive our cars every day and i bet faster than 80 km/h
    If you are one of 20 best drivers of the world, getting paid millions for driving the safest motor racing cars in the world, you should drive after a crash.

    1. I should preface that if the FIA deem it safe, which goes without saying cos if the FIA don’t feem it safe then nobody can drive even if they wanted to.

      1. @Yaru, it goes without saying, a driver cannot drive the car in any way without FIA approval

  8. It’s time for Max to cut off his Dad and get a proper upbringing from a normal person.

    1. If his dad abandoned the family, I think Max would use his mom’s surname.

  9. “I’m really tough, look how tough I am”

    — Every young person ever at some point in their development

  10. The more time goes on, the less likable Max is.

    1. I don’t want to foreshadow anything seriously bad to Max, but I think he will be cursed with more mechanical failures for the last two races of this season. I just don’t want him dead.

      1. I don’t wish him ill, I just like him less the more he talks. Maybe he’ll grow out of it.

        1. What he says…are untrustable lies.

  11. I completely disagree

    I also love the honesty. No fake media training answers from him. I really like that. You can expect him to speak his mind

    Even though he’s wrong here

    1. If the FIA deem it safe to continue, then yeah you better do your job if you want to keep your seat.

      Max is totally right here. Refuse to drive if you want, just dont expect to keep your seat.

      1. Your stance, you realise would see the following drivers not in F1:

        Trulli
        Raikkonen
        Button
        Fisichella
        Alonso
        Sato
        Webber
        Massa
        Montoya
        Villeneuve
        Zonta
        Klien
        Heidfeld
        Coulthard

        Did you want to maybe have a rethink?

        1. That is a false equivalence. In the scenario (I assume you refer to USA 2005) Michelin stated their tyres were unsafe and therefore affected drivers were instructed by their teams that they couldn’t race. Driver opinion on safety didn’t even come into it. Michelin even acknowledged fault and paid out.

          @yaru is right in that if that all responsible parties confirm that the race is safe to run then an any driver refusing to race ultimately runs the risk of losing their seat if they refuse to participate.

          1. It’s not a false equivalence, it’s you moving the goalposts to a standard not originally set bu the poster I replied too. He said, quite clearly that if the Fia say it’s safe to race – which they did – then if you don’t race, you lose your seat. He didn’t say anything about what information the drivers used to make their decisions, that’s you moving the goalposts. He didn’t say anything about whether the teams supported their drivers, that’s a fiction invented by you. He didn’t mention any other party than the Fia and in that instance, the Fia very specifically instructed the drivers that it was safe to race. The drivers each unilaterally took the decision to steer intot he pitlane and retire before the start, ergo with the information given to us by Yaru, and therefore the only information he has, he would have had those drivers lose their seats. You clearly disagree, which means you agree with me, it was a silly thing to say and he should have a rethink.

        2. What if Michelin tyres were fine throughout the entire 2005 United States Grand Prix weekend?
          Simple answer: All drivers start the race normally. Then it becomes a crazy race where Ferrari takes an 1-2 finish and Monteiro claiming a shock podium, under normal circumstances where all Michelin runners took part.

      2. I’ll elaborate a bit.. I disagree with him because if a driver in his head does not want to drive because of fear, pushing him into driving anyway by waving the contract does not take his fears away. I suspect it is impossible to achieve any result that way because it’s all about the last tenths. And you can only function optimally when not ruled by fear.

        If the driver doesn’t overcome his fear before the next race however..
        But that is all unlikely. After this fireball crash they all got on with it.. So it’s still only a hypothetical question at most.

  12. I think it takes more guts to take a stand for something you believe in than go with the rest to not make a scene. If a driver objected to racing (maybe not today but for heavy wether conditions or on the back of Hubert crash) then that would be totally fine

  13. Everyone reacts to things differently. A significant crash can be quite a traumatic experience and I sure wouldn’t judge a driver for deciding not to race. I do however think it unlikely for most f1 drivers to take that route as they’re well aware of the dangers every time they get in the car.

  14. that attitude is the reason why he will never be WC
    he is a no-one going nowhere, he cannot even get a seat in a championship challenging car because all the team bosses know what liability he is

    1. Relax.

      It’s a stupid statement but you’re clearly taking your bias against Max into account a bit much.

    2. Hence why I am a traitor of him since Baku 2018. After Red Bull didn’t sack him after that incident with Ricciardo, I had enough.

  15. I read the Ricciardo interview on this site and I did not pick up any suggestion by him that the drivers should not race after the accident. Vettel apparently said he found it difficult to get back into the seat but it’s a bit of a stretch to say he would refuse to race.

  16. He has a point. If you are scared you have no place in a race. Any race. F1, Indycar, MotoGp or whatever. Stay home and enjoy this site.

  17. 100% agree with him. Drivers know the risk, they can’t refuse. Someone earlier wrongly mentioned USA 2005 to make a point, in that race many drivers begged their teams to let them race even during the warm up lap , that is the kind of commitment and passion that I expect from a F1 driver.

    I do also appreciate Max’s honesty a lot, which many people don’t seem to like.

    1. I mentioned it in response to an idea that if a driver refuses to race, they should lose their seats if the Fia has deemed the race safe – the Fia deemed that race safe, the drivers could have lined up on the start if they had wanted, no-one was touching their pedals and steering wheels except for themselves and they all unilaterally decided to retire.

      I think my point was made, quite adequately that the Fia should not be the only authority who gets to decide whether a race is safe or not and such totalitarian punishments as “losing their seats” would have done significant damage to the sport in the short term (Alonso) Medium term () and long term (Button), as well as trampling on the legacy of greats – sure, someone would have won those championships – but that person would have been lesser, and so the sport would have been lesser. If you disagree, then make your disagreement to me. If you think that I was using that as a point against Verstappen, you’re wrong, by point against Verstappen was higher up the page, and I called him immature trying to be a tough guy.

  18. Interesting if his perspective will change if he ever has a kid. Changes how you value your own life, and what you live for in some people.

    1. nice point…
      could be a game-changer indeed

    2. When I saw Vettel’s comment, that’s exactly what I thought of – Vettel was thinking of his kids and all that goes with that.

  19. Childish comment, plain and simple.

    Bravado like this has no place in the sport when we could easily have been mourning the death of an experienced driver, a father and a husband.

  20. I was willing to slap Max head reading the headline.
    But why the media always hide what the exact words the question asked?

    the idea drivers should be given the option to pull out of races after serious crashes happen

    Why should it be framed in newly made up sentence? Just print the question.

    1. Give it up. People read to the headline and then stop. Then the bashing starts. While Hamilton said the same with different words. “It is up to the sport regulators and not the drivers”.

      1. “If I would be the team boss I would kick him out of the seat.

        “If the guy wouldn’t race, if I would be the team boss, I would tell him ‘then you never sit in the seat again’.”

        I don’t see Hamilton saying words to this effect anywhere, would you care to link me to that interview?

        1. I am not criticizing Ham he is the best and his records will be there for decades. But they are drivers working for a company. Employees with a contract. So is the company says drive and you don’t you can get fired. Simple.

          1. So you’re conceding that Hamilton did not in any way say the same thing as Max, and your post was wildly inaccurate, people are not applying double standards. Now you want to change the argument into one where you think you know that every driver has a similar contract to a waiter in a restaurant… have that discussion with someone else, it’s beneath me.

  21. Sometimes i forget that a lot of these drivers are very young, and thus are now in their edgy, tough college fratboy phase of their lives.

  22. “Responding to the same question, Lewis Hamilton…”

    What precisely was the question to which Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen were responding? It would help in understanding their comments, particularly considering the somewhat alarming headline.

  23. Verstappen is, IMHO, entitled to his view, and entitled to expressing it in his no-nonse way. Fair enough.

    Only, and I realize that I date myself as a boring old fart: so does that mean that Lauda was a chicken for pulling out of the race at Fuji in 1976?

    Really? Lauda of all people?

  24. What people seem to forget is that an F1 team is not (only) about the driver. Sure, he’s the one in the spotlight but an F1 teams consists of hundreds of people. Being the driver of the car is one of the many jobs in an F1 team. It should never be the decision of a single person not to drive. Verstappen is right. Who are you to decide not to race? If racing is deemed safe, and the entire teams wants to race, and you as driver refuse, then yeah – kick him out of the seat and put somebody there who is a team player.

    1. And yes, I realize the driver is the one taking the risk. But it’s a risk they know beforehand and that’s why they get paid the big bucks. It’s part of the job description.

      If a fighter pilot is being sent to a war zone, and he refuses to fly, what do you think would happen?

  25. Lauda pulled out early on in a title decider in Japan 1976. No car issues and track was deemed safe to race. Everyone understand why but it’s not a black and white question. Overall if drivers pulled out due to a non fatal crash but track was safe to continue it is likely they would not make it to F1 in the 1st place as they would be too soft. All drivers continued yesterday, it’s a daft hypothetical question.

  26. I get what he’s saying and I dont disagree with his sentiment, these are highly paid and highly skilled drivers, driving in the safest era of motorsport to have existed yet. Its their job to put the emotion and doubt to the side and push on with the job at hand, its why they get paid the big bucks.
    However, he needs to learn a bit of diplomacy and tact, when he opens his mouth he’s like a train wreck. It feels like he tries to portray a certain image of what a ruthless racing driver should be, but just comes across as being a bit of a ****…

  27. Verstappen wants to come across as a mentally strong driver, as a macho man, but he is immature and lacking normal human being feelings. imagine if Grosjeans body was cut in half in the crash, and he was rushed to hospital in critical condition, ala Alex Zanardi in 2001, and then the race restarted with the drivers knowing Grosjean’s hypothetical condition, i think it would be perfectly normal for drivers to be in shock and not want to return straight back into a race. Verstappen needs to watch some races where there were Fatal crashes, because at the moment he is talking rubbish like donald trump.

    1. kpcart You are the one talking rubbish by asking us to imagine what didn’t happen. Obviously you yourself on your high horse, who is telling Max to watch some races, are not aware of a race that Max and everyone inside F1 is very aware of, that being San Marino GP 1994 at Imola. As I point out elsewhere above, at that race they had Barricello nearly die in a viscous crash during Friday practice, Roland Ratzenberger died during qualifying on the Saturday, then Senna died near the start of the race on Sunday…and after all that tragedy they completed the race.

      Within a minute of yesterday’s crash the world saw RG get out of the car on his own.

    2. Hey kpcart, you know what’s going to happen to what you said?
      Going, going, gone!

      1. Going… going… still going… still going…. getting awkward now…. going… going…. going…

        1. I realized that he says unpopular opinions.

        2. Going, going, should be gone by now, should be seriously gone, nothing’s awkward, going, going, going, gone!

    3. at the moment he is talking rubbish like donald trump

      And then the terrible attack happened…

  28. Embarrassing how the article tries to make out that Max is a horrible person and that Lewis is sensitive and amazing when in reality they both give the same answer to the same question.

    This site doesn’t try to hide its preference, and I can understand it’s difficult as a hardcore fan of a driver even when you’re a journalist, but you’d think there would be some professionalism stopping the worst of it. After all you’re not ‘fanatic’ anymore, you’re just ‘fans’ now..

    1. “If I would be the team boss I would kick him out of the seat.

      “If the guy wouldn’t race, if I would be the team boss, I would tell him ‘then you never sit in the seat again’.”

      Where did Hamilton say this again?

      1. Should drivers have the option to pull out of races after a serious crash?

        Max: No
        Lewis: No

        The article obviously wants to lead you to a different conclusion which you surely support, but everyone can see even Lewis wants the teams to force drivers in these cases just like Max does.

        1. Hamilton did not say anything about drivers losing their seats or team bosses firing drivers who refused to race in unsafe conditions. Hamilton said that the Fia should be the arbitrator of what is a safe and an unsafe condition – a sentiment I also disagree with, because we’ve had one example where despite direct evidence, Charlie Whiting declared a race safe that most certainly was not. However, what Lewis did not in any way shape or form say was that the power that he put in the Fia’s hands should then be transfered to the team’s hands, who should inflict a totalitarian punishment.

          And this is the key difference. Lewis gives the power to the sports regulators. Max gives the power to the teams. The ssports regulators are there to do what’s best for the sport. The teams are there for profit. Max calls for a life ruining punishment. Lewis doesn’t mention punishments for transgressions, but the one thing that the Fia would never do to a driver who refused to race on safety grounds is revoke their licence. They have only ever done this to drivers who have driven on track dangerously. They may fine the driver, which I think was the discussion around Seb? I think when he pulled into the pits and retired even though there was nothing wrong with his car – but no-one was callign for Seb to lose his seat.

          So no, I reject your argument entirely, you don’t understand the nuance between where each driver placed the power, you must understand the difference in the punishments called for, so maybe you don’t understand the role the Fia takes in the sport and didn’t realise that this situation has happened more than once before, so we actually do have a good idea of how the Fia would deal with it.

  29. Hamilton’s comments to Max in that press conference kind of say it all. Lewis knows just how absurd those comments from Max were. I’m disappointed by the comments section here backing anything Max says; he is not the messiah he is a very naughty boy, now go away!

    1. It is unfair to condemn Verstappen for stating a fact, even if you don’t like the way he expressed it.

      1. He was not starting a fact, he was starting his opinion.

        1. They are employees working for a company. Refusing to work is a reason to get fired. Simple.

          1. No, they are not employees, drivers are under contract and both parties are subject to the terms of the contract. We are not privy to those terms and its up to their lawyers to argue over interpretation. Now please, as I said, go away.

  30. Max V says if he was a team boss and a driver didn’t want to go out after the Grosjean crash, he’d sack them! Then LH gets Covid the next day pretty much. I’d like to hear Max’s views on this coincidence.

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