Zak Brown hits out at Christian Horner in wake of Verstappen-Norris collision

McLaren boss Zak Brown has accused Red Bull counterpart Christian Horner of a “lack of respect” – and encouraging Max Verstappen to break Formula One’s rules.

A day after Lando Norris retracted his demand for Verstappen to apologise after their coming together at last weekend’s Austrian Grand Prix, Brown went on the offensive against the Dutch driver’s Red Bull team.

Verstappen was punished with a 10-second penalty for causing the collision with Norris in Spielberg.

But following the race, Horner told Verstappen over the radio that Norris “did not behave correctly” and that his star driver “was desperately unlucky”.

“Until someone tells Max that’s against the regulations, he’s not going to know any differently,” said Brown ahead of Sunday’s British Grand Prix. “It is disappointing that such a great team like Red Bull almost encourages it.

“You listen on the radio as to what was said, and we all have a responsibility on the pit-wall to tell our drivers the dos and don’ts in the races. We need to have respect for the regulations.”

Brown then referenced Red Bull’s spending breach in 2022 – which he said at the time constituted “cheating” – before alluding to Horner’s sour relationship with Verstappen’s father, Jos.

Brown continued: “We’ve seen a lack of respect (at Red Bull), whether it’s financial regulations or sporting on-track issues, or with fathers and things of that nature.

“We should guide our drivers on what is right or wrong. Had it been addressed earlier then maybe that incident wouldn’t have taken place.

“It was a racing incident, but one that could have been avoided if the pit-wall or the stewards were more on top of the regulations.”

Asked if he will bring the matter up with Horner, Brown said: “I don’t really have any interest in speaking with Christian.”

Red Bull chief Christian Horner speaks with Max Verstappen
Red Bull chief Christian Horner speaks with Max Verstappen (right) ahead of the British Grand Prix (David Davies/PA)

Norris, 24, heads into his home race at Silverstone as the main contender to Verstappen’s crown.

But Norris’ climbdown in his row with Verstappen could be argued as a psychological victory for the sport’s all-conquering Dutchman.

However, perhaps not surprisingly, Brown stood by his driver, who trails leader Verstappen by 81 points in the standings.

“I don’t think that is the case at all,” said Brown. “Lando wants to move on from last weekend.

McLaren’s Lando Norris during a press conference at Silverstone
McLaren’s Lando Norris (pictured) is 81 points behind leader Max Verstappen (David Davies/PA)

“Some drivers might enjoy a public spat but he and Max have a very strong relationship off the track. What they spoke about is between them but they both want to move on and get back to racing each other real hard on track.

“There’s a difference between what a driver is like when the helmet goes on and the visor goes down and what they’re like Monday through to Thursday.

“A lot of world champions are sweethearts outside of the race car, but pretty fierce when the helmet goes on.”