EDITORIAL: The Absurdity of Red Bull’s Sky Sports Boycott

© Wolfgang Wilhelm for Daimler AG

By Adrian Mann

So, Max Verstappen and Red Bull’s boycott of Sky Sports is over. That’s bad news for Formula 1 journalists, because it was the most read news story since Red Bull’s 2021 cost cap breach was revealed.

That’s right, the stories which attracted the most attention in the last month or so, weren’t stories related to Max Verstappen’s 2022 Drivers’ Championship win, or Red Bull’s Constructors’ Championship win. No, the most read stories were those that had to do with Red Bull’s 2021 cost cap breach and those related to the team’s boycott of Sky Sports, which happened due to Ted Kravitz talking about something that happened in 2021.

And what happened in 2021 was that Lewis Hamilton lost the title fight to Max Verstappen at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, due to blatantly wrong decisions made by the race director, who had quite simply broken the rules. This is what Kavitz was referring to while he was talking about a fictitious movie about Lewis’ fall and comeback. Not a fall that was brought about by his own doing, but by being, as Kravitz put it – “robbed”.

Now, Kravitz did not say that Lewis was robbed by Red Bull or Verstappen, he just pointed to the fact that what happened in Abu Dhabi was completely unjust. This obviously irritated Max so much that he decided not to speak to the broadcaster during the Mexican Grand Prix weekend, and he was soon backed by the whole Red Bull team. However, if the goal was to have people move on from Abu Dhabi, their boycott did the exact opposite, it made people read about it even more, and it made people talk about it even more. Red Bull should have known this would happen, and that’s why their decision to go through with the boycott is absolutely absurd.

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We don’t even have to go into the absurd fact that despite winning both 2022 championships, Red Bull and Verstappen were bothered by somebody talking about something that happened a year ago. The smart thing to do in that situation would have been to just let it go and continue celebrating your success, but both the team and their driver seem to be very much bothered by people questioning what happened in the last race of the 2021 season.

Max Verstappen and Christian Horner have said recently that people need to stop ‘living in the past’ and should ‘move on’, but by getting offended about something that an independent journalist said, when he didn’t even mention them in the slightest, is only proving that they are the ones living in the past. Granted, it’s not easy having people question the validity of your success, especially when irrefutable facts back their claims, but it is something you have to learn to live with, if you are willing to accept the accolades stemming from a tainted victory.

Ultimately, by trying to defend what happened in Abu Dhabi, Red Bull is opening itself up to criticism, and by trying to prevent people from talking about it, they are actually highlighting the story. Red Bull’s best bet would be – not to stop talking to Sky Sports – but to stop talking altogether.

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