Red Bull team principal Christian Horner says team did't think recent comments by Sky Sports have been 'fair and balanced.'ATTILA KISBENEDEKGetty Images
There’s needle between one of Formula 1’s biggest broadcasters and the reigning two-time World Champion.
Red Bull took umbrage at some comments made on U.K.-based Sky TV during the U.S. Grand Prix Austin weekend, in which reporter Ted Kravitz said Lewis Hamilton had been “robbed” of the 2021 title. That was effectively the last straw in a lengthy build-up of tension between team and broadcaster because of the ways last year’s notorious title decider has been frequently referenced.
As a result, Red Bull representatives did not talk to Sky reporters, even in the FIA-controlled TV pen, and that extended not just to Sky U.K. personnel, but also representatives from Sky Deutschland and Sky Italia. The TV pen is set up into around seven zones in the Formula 1 paddock and each major broadcaster has their own area, with drivers usually visiting each section.
“This year, it’s been a constant… kind of like digging, being disrespectful, especially one particular person,” said two-time F1 champion Max Verstappen. “And at one point, it’s enough you know? I don’t accept it. You can’t live in the past, you just have to move on. 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, so that’s why I decided to stop answering.”
Red Bull team principal Christian Horner said that the decision to stop talking to Sky was taken “just to register our discontent” and that “we were disappointed with a series of derogatory comments. So we thought this weekend we’d just take a break, and it wouldn’t do Sky any harm. There needs to be balance in commentary, and some of the commentary is excellent, but some of the pieces there’s too much sensationalism being done and we stand together as a team.
“I think accusations of championships being robbed, we don’t feel is impartial commentary. It doesn’t feel fair or balanced.”
Horner confirmed that the blackout between Red Bull and Sky was only for Mexico City and normal service will be resumed in Sao Paulo.