Sergio Perez and Max Verstappen talking with each other in front of their team's garage

Sergio Perez (left) and Max Verstappen (right) at Red Bull Racing’s end-of-year team photoshoot in Abu Dhabi
Photo: Bryn Lennon (Getty Images)

Besides Mercedes driver George Russell getting his maiden Grand Prix victory, Formula 1’s biggest story after the São Paulo Grand Prix was the intra-team drama at Red Bull Racing. In the final lap of the race, Max Verstappen, who had already secured the 2022 World Championship, decided to disobey team orders to let teammate Sergio Pérez pass and secure a second-place in the standings, citing he “had his reasons.” That rumored reasoning for his insubordination, is why the FIA, says it is now open to investigating a possible intentional crash in Monaco, reports. 

Rumor in the F1 paddocks has it that Verstappen didn’t yield his position because the Mexican driver intentionally crashed during Monaco Grand Prix qualifying, which secured Pérez third on the grid. The Dutch World Champion was driving on pace for pole position, but Pérez’s crash caused a red flag, ending the session. Verstappen started the race fourth, and Pérez went on to win the race.

Red Bull Racing, Max Verstappen and Sergio Pérez deny this rumor behind the disobeyed team order. FIA President Mohammed Ben Sulayem says the body would look into the matter if an F1 team files a formal complaint.

Ben Sulayem stated:

“I didn’t have anyone who said we want to investigate it from our side. But if there is something to be investigated, we are more than happy. One thing truly I would say, I’m not shy or afraid of conducting or going into it if there is an issue. I will not hide. I will be even raising my hand and saying [if] there is an issue with the FIA. Otherwise, if I cannot do this, you will never improve and never evolve. That I can guarantee.”

While any team could file a complaint, something of that nature would typically come from the team most aggrieved by the incident — and that team would be Red Bull. If Pérez did intentionally crash, it only significantly impacted his own squad and Max Verstappen. It is doubtful that the Mexican driver intentionally crashed for third place on the grid.

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