Max Verstappen: ‘In this political environment we are in every team thinks about themselves and they are going to say ‘no, he has to take the penalty’; watch Sunday’s Las Vegas GP live on Sky Sports F1 and Sky Showcase. Race starts at 6am with build-up from 4.30am
Last Updated: 18/11/23 11:08am
Max Verstappen has called for an F1 rule change after labelling the grid penalty given to Carlos Sainz for Sunday’s Las Vegas GP “very harsh”, in the wake of the major damage caused to the Ferrari by a loose circuit drain cover.
And following suggestions that other teams may have challenged the matter had stewards not followed the regulations in the matter, the world champion also said rivals should be excluded from having any say as “in this political environment we are in of course every team thinks about themselves”.
Sainz said on Friday night he had been left in “disbelief” that Ferrari’s request for special dispensation to avoid a 10-place grid penalty for exceeding permitted power unit part changes had been rejected, given the freak circumstances of what happened when the water valve cover failed as he drove over it at high-speed during opening practice.
Stewards said that while they would have liked to grant the team dispensation, they were hamstrung by the sport’s regulations and so had no choice but to impose a mandatory grid drop on Sainz.
As a result, Sainz’s second-place result in Saturday’s qualifying session turns into a 12th-place starting position on Sunday’s race grid.
Although Verstappen may be the first driver to directly benefit from his Ferrari rival’s demotion, given he qualified third, the Dutchman expressed his disapproval about what happened to Sainz.
“The rules have to change for that,” said Verstappen, sitting alongside the Ferrari drivers in the post-qualifying press conference.
“It’s the same if you get taken out and have a big accident. You can lose parts of engine, energy store, all these kind of things.
“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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When to watch Sunday’s Las Vegas GP live on Sky Sports F1 and Sky Showcase
Sunday November 19
- 4:30am: Grand Prix Sunday: Las Vegas GP build-up (also on Sky Showcase)
- 6am: THE LAS VEGAS GRAND PRIX (also on Sky Showcase)
- 8am: Chequered Flag: Las Vegas GP reaction (also on Sky Showcase)
- 9am: Ted’s Notebook (also on Sky Showcase)
Watch the whole Las Vegas GP weekend live on Sky Sports F1 with lights out on Sunday at 6am. Stream F1 on Sky Sports with NOW