“At the time I thought it was really funny and safe but of course I understand they don’t want to see this happening again.” Max Verstappen responds after FIA’s warning that burnout celebration “would not be tolerated”
By Matt Morlidge
Last Updated: 01/07/21 4:35pm
Max Verstappen thinks it will be ‘a bit more difficult’ for the second race at the Red Bull Ring after other teams will learn and improve from the Styrian GP.
Max Verstappen says he will not repeat his burnout victory celebration from last weekend’s Styrian GP despite feeling the finish-line move – which was criticised but not penalised by the FIA – was “funny and safe”.
At the end of a dominant race last Sunday, Verstappen slowed down by his cheering team members on the right hand side of the track before spinning his wheels as he drove away
The Dutchman did not come to a complete stop but with other lapped cars approaching on track, Red Bull were warned by FIA race director Michael Masi afterwards that the celebration “would not be tolerated again”.
Ahead of this weekend’s second race at the Red Bull Ring – the Austrian GP – Verstappen said he accepted the clampdown and the safety concerns even though he did not necessarily agree.
“I understand of course about safety but I looked in my mirrors, went all the way to the right, took it easy,” explained Verstappen. “Everyone was on the left. I just did a burn-out. OK, if it’s not allowed, I won’t do it again.
Max Verstappen extends his lead over Lewis Hamilton at the top of the drivers’ championship with a comfortable victory in the Styrian Grand Prix.
“At the time I thought it was really funny and safe but of course I understand they don’t want to see this happening again, which is fine for me.”
He added to Sky F1: “At the end of the day it doesn’t matter if I understand or not, if they’re not happy with it then it won’t happen again. I thought at the time it was nice, everyone enjoyed it but if they think it’s unsafe, it won’t happen again.”
As well as joking that he would do “doughnuts” next time he won a race, title leader Verstappen also gave his thoughts on some other potential celebrations…
“Bungee jumping, cage fighting, back-flips with the car!” he said.
“The FIA likes that you think, or not? Maybe we can improve it. Maybe we get some bonus points as well, best celebration. That would be great!”
Verstappen expects tougher challenge at Austrian GP
The fact Verstappen was afforded the luxury of a finish-line celebration tells you how comfortable his race was last weekend, with the Red Bull driver well clear of title rival Lewis Hamilton.
But he expects Mercedes to hit back this weekend.
“Last week was good,” he said. “Of course we were very happy at the time but at the moment I’m not thinking about that anymore, I’m just focused on what’s ahead and to try to do a similar job.
Lewis Hamilton feels downforce is the main difference between Red Bull and Mercedes this year and they have work to do to improve.
“I know it’s not going to be that easy because people learn from that first race weekend and for sure they will all improve.
“I’m not saying we can’t improve because we still have margins for improvement but nevertheless with the softer tyres as well, the strategies are not that straightforward and it will naturally become that bit closer.”
He also had his say on Red Bull’s priorities, with Mercedes seemingly shifting their focus to their 2022 car despite the close battle this year.
“We are confident we are doing a good job this year but we are also confident that we can have a good car next year,” said Verstappen. “Of course time will tell if it’s going to be like that, but at the moment we are all very positive.”