Was Max Verstappen right to refuse team order in Singapore?
Red Bull Racing
Max Verstappen Carlos Sainz
Posted By: Alex Kalinauckas  |  21 Sep 2015   |  12:42 pm GMT  |  268 comments

The Toro Rosso drivers Carlos Sainz and Max Verstappen have given F1 fans a lot of pleasure this season, but in Singapore they gave their team a headache with a team orders spat, which had to be defused by the team boss Franz Tost.

Red Bull and its sister team Toro Rosso have a policy of using one car to help another in race strategy (although this broke down in the Webber/Vettel days at Red Bull). And we have seen plenty of examples this season with both teams.

However in this case, Tost backed Max Verstappen’s decision to refuse an order to allow teammate Carlos Sainz through in the closing stages of the Singapore Grand Prix, as both drivers scored much needed points around Marina Bay.

Both men were mounting powerful recovery drives after setbacks early in the race. Verstappen’s car was pushed off the grid and he went a lap down before the fist Safety Car gave him a lifeline, while Sainz lost six positions with a gearbox glitch and then lost further time in a pit stop.

Toro Rosso went aggressive on strategy, putting the pair on supersoft tyres for the final stint to attack and pass the Lotus drivers, who had stopped very early (Laps 26 and 27) for soft tyres and were vulnerable at the end.

In the closing stages, Verstappen was twice asked to let Sainz go by during the final few laps of the race because the Spanish driver was running one lap newer supersoft tyres and felt he could attack Sergio Perez, who was holding up the Toro Rosso pair.

Sainz felt that he should have been allowed the chance to use his tyre advantage to attack Perez and if he could not get past the Mexican he would let Verstappen back through, in a similar manner to what the Red Bull drivers did in the Monaco Grand Prix earlier this year.

Max Verstappen Carlos Sainz

“I saw what Red Bull did in Monaco and said ‘this is the best thing you can do’ – play the team game and let the guy on a newer tyre, that was me, try, at least have one shot,” said Sainz after the race.

“If I can’t [get past Perez], Max finishes P8 and me P9. I just wanted one shot, [but] he never gave it to me. It’s not an issue for me, but sometimes you have to think about the team and not just yourself.”

Sainz added that he had been asked to let Verstappen through on three occasions so far this season and that he had complied each time while Verstappen refused to do the same for him.

He said: “I don’t need to tell him [anything], I’m sure the team is the one who needs to talk with him. I had three times this year that they asked me to let him by [and] I did it three times. The team asked him three times this year to let me by [and] he has never done it yet.”

But Tost defended Verstappen and explained that Sainz was not close enough to his teammate to justify being allowed through to attack Perez.

Franz Tost

Tost said: “The team wanted to swap positions because we thought Carlos was faster with the new tyres, but this was not the case, he could not catch up. He was too far away, so Max said no, and he was right.

“I said over the intercom if Carlos is not close then it makes no sense to swap positions because he would never get Perez as he is too far behind – between three and five tenths behind.

“You have to catch up, and [Sainz] should have shown at first he was capable of overtaking Max before then trying to catch Perez.”

Verstappen felt that his recovery to get back into the points paying positions meant he did not have to let his teammate through.

Max Verstappen

He said: “If you’re one lap down and you manage to be back in the points as the leading Toro Rosso, then for me there is no reason to switch positions.

“With Checo, we couldn’t have got past because his top speed was unbelievable. I made it quite clear I didn’t want to do it, and at the end they told me it was the right decision.”

Both Toro Rosso drivers were running well down the field as they started their final stints. They then both took full advantage of the second safety car bunching the field up and used the supersoft tyres to charge through the rear end of the field and back into the points before they were halted by Perez.

Verstappen’s supersoft tyres were one lap older than Sainz’s and the Spaniard felt he should be given the chance to use that advantage to attack Perez, and if he failed to pass the Force India, he would drop back behind Verstappen in much the same way Daniel Ricciardo did for Daniil Kvyat on the final lap of the Monaco Grand Prix in May.

Carlos Sainz

While Sainz did get close to Verstappen as they both climbed back though the tail end of the field in the closing laps, he was never within 0.3s of the Dutchman at any stage after the final pitstops. After they caught Perez he did not come within 0.4s and that gap led to Verstappen’s refusal to the team’s calls, and Toro Rosso defending his decision after the race.

As well as vying for an opportunity with the main Red Bull team in the next year or two, both drivers are on the radar of other top teams and their competition is proving one of the brighter stories in F1 this season. Sainz currently leads Verstappen 7-6 in qualifying, but Verstappen has 30 points to Sainz’s 11. Sainz has five retirements to Verstappen’s four, although one of those was the Dutchman’s high speed accident in Monaco.

What do you think? Was Verstappen right to refuse the order? Leave your comments below

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They are both very good drivers, and yes I agree that MV is the better of the 2 [ a real racer ] at the moment and his 1st year in F1.

Even though a rookie I think that if he was in a Merc , Hamilton would be dusted quite often

Hamilton is a very good driver, but manufactured with what ever he says not coming across as sincere – whereas Verstappen is a natural, and i just loved it when he put Eddy Jordan in his place last week when EJ tried to put him down and embarrass him.


As we can see now Suzuka is history is that Max does not need team orders to get past his teammate.

“Erop en erover” like the dutch say…

It should be clear now that Max is the better and more talented driver of them two, and that in his second year in single seaters. In the beginning of the season, Sainz more or less had the advantage but that is history.

next teammate, please…


A true champion wouldn’t let him pass,and that’s what max is gonna be.

By not doing so shows his utter determination to win and what a true racer he is……would Senna Schumacher Vettel Hamilton let him past……Na


As I see it, please tell me if i’m wrong.

The original request came from Carlos himself at the team to ask Max to move over.

Then the team askt Max 4 times to let Carlos by. 4 laps before we saw it on TV.

So Carlos why not pass Max yourself? Why did you not push? I don’t think your tires were so much better with just one lap less. With only one third of the points of Max I think Carlos is desperate for points and would not have given the place back to Max. If you want to pass just do it and don’t ask Max to get out of the way.

I don’t think Carlos has a seat at TR yet for 2016 so it is time for him to preform.


RIght or wrong, the boy is living up to last years hype, If Tost backs Verstappens’s decision, then then why let the call go out in the first place let alone multiple times? Is he the boss or isn’t he? He says “the team wanted to swap positions…” Is he not the team? Or is he a press officer? Tost agreeing after the fact is disingenuous and for me makes obvious the political weight Max and his dad have over at TR.


Could you imagine Senna, Schumi, Prost, Alonso, Vettel, giving up their position to their team mate? No way, and that’s what makes them the champions everyone else wants to be.

He’s a champion in the making!


Driving in dirty air too close behind a teammate ruins the brakes and tyres, is risky,….

So it is stupid to say that the teammate behind has to try to overtake the teammate in front to be allowed to pass. He will need the brakes and tyres for the not team intern overtake.

Probably the team has to say precisely when the rear teammate is allowed to overtake before a race. Probably the dirty air effect depends on track, temperature, tyres, …but all that can be discussed before a race.


the problem with Max is Jos the dad.

Dad was a barely decent F1 driver that was arrogant and frustrated by faster team mates and he is just getting his revenge via the young boy.

A lot of negative energy if you ask me. that may not bring much in the long term.


Sainz already let him pass in a few occasions….

Next time Sainz will not let him pass and this Verstappen boy will have to live with it.


And then Max will push Carlos of the track. As a Senna would do!


First a few facts:

Unlike what a lot of (especially Spanish) newspapers say, the order seems to have been given 2 or 3 laps before the end until the final radio exchange after which they gave up. Some seem to indicate that it was the penultimate lap and Spanish newspapers are talking about 10 or 15 laps. Sainz himself in an interview said that after sitting behind VES for 6 or 7 laps he wanted to try himself for the last 2 laps, or so.

Definitely Sainz was not faster than Verstappen. After both had managed to pass Grosjean, Verstappen was 2.5s in front. He built on that lead up to 4s, but then Sainz managed to slowly reduce that lead to just over 3s when Verstappen finally reached Perez’s tail. Verstappen’s tyres were probably worn a little more, but not all that much (1 lap, plus they were the used tyres from Q2, whereas Sainz had brand new)

Second, Tost’s post-race explanation about Sainz not being fast enough was BS. Obviously both Verstappen and Sainz could go faster, but were held up behind Perez. It was not as if Sainz was pushing the limits to keep up with the two of them. He just kept a safe distance.

imho, it was a terrible call from Torro Rosso to give the order. After all the drama and disappointment for Verstappen at the start of this very race that they had so much hope for, he hang in there with some super fast racing and a few strokes of luck. He wasn’t being noticed until he came back into play with the second safety car, but he was doing terrific stints, shaving off seconds every lap. To fight yourself back into a hard-earned 8th spot and be asked to pull over in the heat of the race for you team rival, who supposedly is ‘faster’, what could you possibly expect? That’s just asking for trouble!

I don’t think TR really thought there was a good chance for Sainz to pull off the overtake on Perez if Verstappen wasn’t able to do so either. The real reason behind this order I believe was to give Sainz some LOVE. Remember it was Sainz who complained about Verstappen favouritism after the Hungarian GP, because of his undercut during the race. Also, Sainz has been in a real bad stretch of luck recently. Furthermore, Verstappen is outshining Sainz in almost every race with his daring overtakes, but Sainz is a very good, nice, hard-working guy himself and I think the team wanted to show a bit of commitment to him. He was going to give back the spot anyway, so why not?

Altogether it’s a very bad situation for both of them now. Verstappen for being seen as a spoiled brat, and Sainz for being seen as a cry-baby. Besides, they were quite friendly and cooperative between them until now. Will that continue?


It was a terrible call from Torro Rosso to give the order.

Altogether it’s a very bad situation for both of them now. Verstappen for being seen as a spoiled brat, and Sainz for being seen as a cry-baby. Besides, they were quite friendly and cooperative between them until now.

Will that continue?

Best comment I read here!!!


Well it’s official….80% of JAonF1 readers don’t believe in ethics….or have the maturity and foresight of a petulant 17yr old rookie.


Re 93

Says who? – the pompous and almighty one ?

We are all expressing our opinions, and given that we do not know everything there is to know about this matter – that’s all we can do.


What has always irked me about this matter is that everyone keeps talking about ‘team orders’ when the Team Principal himself called it a Team Request – not quite the same thing ?

I believe that Eddy Jordan’s disgraceful tabloidesque treatment of MV in an after race interview is far more worthy of mention than anything that MV may have done.

To act that way when not in full command of all the facts is professionally negligent and just shows him as having an overly inflated opinion of himself – does he think he is still a team owner and can publicly try to put down and embarrass a 17/18 year old boy that way ?

Now that was shameful behaviour.


I think any driver that needs to do a defensive againts his own team mate to make a pouint does not deserve to get any points. The sipirt of a team is that, a team, and orders from his box should be taken.

Guess this is a will see what happens when Verstapen needs something… and how an overtake will be seen by Sainz next time he is close to him.

Really don’t understand why many people think that Sainz was not close enough if he was trying to pass Verstapen at least 3 laps and he couldn’t becasue V closed the lines heavily, clearly Verstapen needed to close to avoid beeing passed, guess I saw a diffrerent race…


I’m guessing/hoping the yes voters don’t run business’

Anyone who has a common knowledge of running a business would vote No.


Let me simply comment by translating what mr van Amersfoort (Teamboss f3) said :

Original comment :

“Superlatieven schieten bij Max eigenlijk tekort. Dat hij gewoon nee zegt, bewijst hoe groot hij als coureur is. Want alle grote coureurs hadden het niet gedaan, Michael Schumacher niet en Ayrton Senna al helemaal niet. Grote sportmensen kunnen zich zoiets veroorloven. Omdat ze zo goed zijn.”

That he said NO just proves how big a driver he already is. None of the big drivers would have done it. MS not; and Senna definitely not. Big sportsman can allow this. Because they are THAT good.

Again this is a statement not from me (although i fully agree) but of his former team boss.


I didnt like the shouting “NO” down the radio like he did, I think he could have maybe handled it better, maybe that was just a bit of immaturity. And I hope next time Carlos is in front, it stays that way.


I’m afraid Max showed that he is still a little boy inside his overalls, very immature not to allow Sainz a crack, I hate it when young drivers (no matter how talented) come along and are given it all without having to fight to get there, even Senna had to do a few seasons of lower formula, Tost made it worse as well by saying he backs Max, I’m sure Frank would have given him a [Mod]


Was Torro Rosso wrong to issue the team order: I think so. Even they should have know that Sainz wouldn’t be able to go for P7, therefore the shouldn’t have given the team order.

Was Verstappen wrong to defy the team order: Maybe.

And with that I mean, it depends on whether he’ll become that superstar or not. No one minds if a Vettel or a Hamilton is defying team orders once in a while…. as long as they’re lifting the team to a higher level. Same goes for Verstappen… for as long as there’s the promise he might be the next world champ, he might get away with it. When he get’s into a career dip, this behaviour mind come back to haunt him though.


James, some of the story is missing here. If MV was given more information over the radio that CS was on newer tyres and would hand back to position, maybe this would have encouraged MV to give over P8? Are you able to get a transcript? Is there more to this than we have been given?


Sadly, though, the team reassures Max’s position and, after 3 times not-complying to team orders vs. 3 times complying from Carlos, it proves who’s #1 and #2 driver…

Torchwood (mobile)

This was not a call by Max. This was a pre-discussed call by Jos Vestappen.

All this “Carlos was not close enough” is a crock of [Mod].

Max wouldn’t have yielded if Carlos was flying over him in a T-47 Snowspeeder.


Max Verstappen`s “no” has a weight like does Vettel, Hamilton, Alonso, Raikkonen. These guys can back it up with their performances.

“Team bosses can moan and threaten but the result is in the bag and secretly they will admire you rather than see you as an easy touch. And after all that Toro Rosso team boss Franz Tost sided with Verstappen.” – Martin Brundle. I don`t like to to refer to anyone but most people among common people does not have any clue what it is to be a talented or in a situation where you have a chance and means to turn the tide.

That is why i mostly don`t even bother to comment here. Most stuff written here are in best case scenario just reflections of a very twisted mirror. It would be funny if it wasn`t just so sad.


I am curious if Max was holding Carlos up. If this was the case, Max should have swapt


Casi inmediatamente terminada la carrera, una televisión española entrevistó a un jefe de Toro Roso y le preguntó sobre esto. Él dijo que sele había ordenado repetidamente a Verstapen que dejase adelantar a su compañero, que tenía mejor las ruedas, para que pudiese intentar adelantar a Pérez y que si no lo conseguía, Sainz le devolvería la posición. Se negó en todas las ocasiones en las que se lo ordenaron.

Respecto a lo que dice Tost sobre que Sainz no llegó a estar cerca de Verstapen es interesante esta entrevista



If VW doesn’t buy Red Bull, and it seems very unlikely now, will they withdraw?

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