Motorsport fans have taken aim at Red Bull amid reports the Formula One team will boycott speaking to Sky Sports, over comments made by one of their reporters.
It's understood Max Verstappen and his Red Bull team will refuse to speak with the network indefinitely, starting with the Mexican Grand Prix.
Verstappen raced into the F1 record books in Mexico City on Sunday (Monday AEDT) after becoming the first driver to ever claim 14 wins in a season.
The Dutch driver claimed victory ahead of Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton and Red Bull teammate Sergio Perez.
Red Bull's controversial boycott comes in response to Sky Sports’ pit-lane reporter Ted Kravitz saying Hamilton was last year “robbed” of an eighth world championship.
Hamilton was denied a record-breaking eighth world title when Verstappen capitalised on a debatable safety car incident to pass Hamilton on the last lap of the season-ending race, snatching victory from under the nose of the Mercedes driver - who had led the whole race.
The victory was highly controversial after FIA race director Michael Masi came under fire for his interpretation of rules relating to lapped cars under safety car conditions in the closing stages.
The decision to allow the lapped cars that separated Hamilton and Verstappen to pass the safety car before it returned to the pits was a contentious one and Mercedes launched two appeals before electing to drop their case.
Before the Mexican GP, Verstappen refused to address Sky Sports when he put his Red Bull on pole position for Sunday’s race in Mexico City.
It's understood the entire Red Bull team – including team principal Christian Horner – will now subject Sky to a boycott after growing increasingly frustrated with its coverage.
Hamilton finished runner-up to Verstappen at last weekend’s United States Grand Prix in Austin after he was passed by the Red Bull driver with six laps remaining.
Following the race, Kravitz said: “(Hamilton) doesn’t win a race all year, and then finally comes back at a track where he could win the first race, battling the same guy who won the race he was robbed in the previous year, and manages to finish ahead of him.
“What a script and a story that would have been. But that’s not the way the script turned out today, was it?
“Because the guy that beat him after being robbed actually overtook him, because he’s got a quicker car, because of engineering and Formula One and design, and pretty much because of (Adrian Newey, Red Bull technical chief) over there.”
It is understood that Helmut Marko, Red Bull’s motorsport adviser, was due to speak to Sky Italia and Sky Germany before the Mexican GP, but the interview was cancelled.
The team's boycott has not gone down well with F1 fans, many of whom argue that Kravitz was just reporting the Abu Dhabi incident how many fans had seen it.
Red Bull are always on the front foot when it comes to PR and controlling narratives. And one of the ways in which a powerful entity can control narratives, is to boycott and withdraw access whenever any media dares deviate from a narrative of their choosing. https://t.co/2WBuvy0rKi
— Jay 🏁 (@f1lmer) October 30, 2022
@tedkravitz don’t you dare apologize king. You spoke facts. @CroftyF1 @RachelBrookesTV @MBrundleF1 don’t let Red Bull’s sky boycott force you to punish Ted or apologize for the fact that the truth was spoken. The truth should be defended, always.
— Athena 🏳️🌈 (@tarmactorque) October 30, 2022
So Verstappen and Red Bull are boycotting Sky Sports because Ted Kravitz said Hamilton was robbed in 2021, which he was. Obviously it takes the shine off Max’s maiden title, but fact Lewis was robbed isn’t exactly a pop at RB — more the FIA. The boycott feels very playground.
— Tom Dutton (@TomDutty) October 30, 2022
The @FIA need to give Red Bull a talking t over their boycott of @SkySportsF1 its bad for the sport. Tedkravitz have said nothing disrespectful about Max or Red Bull only the truth has bad optics for them. They shouldn't be allowed to blackmail to control the narrative.
— Gaz (@GazUK) October 30, 2022
A bit bemused by the red bull boycott of Sky, for a few reasons; Sky is not red bull tv, the reporters there are allowed to have a view that red bull may disagree with. It also isn’t a controversial view that was expressed; arguably it is the view of the FIA
— Dermot Rafferty (@dermot0805) October 30, 2022
Did Ted Kravitz say anything derogatory towards Red Bull by saying Lewis Hamilton was robbed? Seems like a dig at FIA/race off if anything. Strange reaction by Red Bull to boycott Sky imo. Shouldn't they laugh it off as brought more attention if anything.#MexicoGP #SkyF1 #F1
— Phil McNamara 🌳 (@Phil_McNamara) October 30, 2022
Earlier this month, F1 bosses signed off a new deal with Sky which will see the broadcaster retain exclusive UK television rights until the end of the 2029 season.
Verstappen wrapped up his second consecutive F1 world title after winning the Japanese GP earlier in October.
Red Bull 'begrudgingly' accept 2023 sanctions
However, he will go into next year's title defence with a disadvantage after Red Bull were punished for breaching F1 cost cap in the 2021 season.
Red Bull boss Christian Horner complained about the severity of conditions imposed on the team for 2023 after they "begrudgingly" decided to settle on sanctions imposed by the FIA.
It came after the sport's governing body discovered they had excluded a total of 13 different items from their cost cap submission for Max Verstappen's 2021 championship season.
While no points from 2021 will be forfeited, Red Bull must pay a $10.9 million fine, as well as having the amount of time permitted for aerodynamic development next season reduced by 10 per cent.
Horner described the punishment as 'draconian' and suggested the aero development penalty could cost the team as much as half a second per lap next season.
Red Bull's total breach of the cap added up to roughly $3.4 million, however the FIA acknowledged this would have been significantly reduced had a tax credit been applied correctly to the team's calculations.
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