Verstappen, Red Bull confirm Sky F1 boycott
"It’s been a constant kind of like digging, being disrespectful"
Max Verstappen broke all -time records on Sunday whilst admitting that he is boycotting the Formula 1 broadcaster Sky.
"We are definitely enjoying it and we’ll try to go for more," said the back-to-back world champion, after breaking Michael Schumacher and Sebastian Vettel’s all-time record for the number of wins (now 14) in a single season.
In Mexico, he also raced past Lewis Hamilton’s record (now 416) for the number of points scored in a season.
But while the Dutchman and Red Bull are enjoying unprecedented success, Verstappen says the environment on social media has become "toxic".
In part, he blames UK broadcaster Sky Sports’ pitlane reporter Ted Kravitz for a series of comments made live on television.
Kravitz said Verstappen, 25, "doesn’t seem to be a driver capable of winning a championship in a normal way", and says Hamilton - who he has called an "eight time champion" - was "robbed" of the 2021 title.
"He (Verstappen) has got a quicker car because of engineering and Formula 1 and design, and pretty much because of him (Adrian Newey) over there," Kravitz also said.
As the course of the Mexican GP weekend progressed, it became clear not only that Verstappen was refusing to talk to Sky UK, Sky Italia and Sky Deutschland, but that Red Bull as a whole team was following suit.
Verstappen confirmed the boycott.
"This year, it’s been a constant kind of like digging, being disrespectful, especially one particular person," he said. "And at one point it’s enough, you know? I don’t accept it.
"At the moment, social media is a very toxic place. And if you are constantly being like that, live on TV, you make it only worse instead of trying to make it better in the world.
"You keep disrespecting me, and one point I’m not tolerating it anymore. That’s why I decided to stop answering," Verstappen added.
His boss, Christian Horner, backed his driver and confirmed that Red Bull had also boycotted the Sky broadcasters over the Mexican GP weekend.
"We’re disappointed with a series of derogatory comments that have been made on Sky, so we felt this weekend we would take a break," he said.
"There needs to be balance in commentary. Some of the commentary is excellent, but some of the pieces, there is too much sensationalism being done.
"Max was very upset about it, and as a team we support him fully."