Briatore: Verstappen must 'learn to keep his mouth shut'
Former Renault team boss Flavio Briatore says he is a fan of Max Verstappen but admit the Dutchman must "learn to keep his mouth shut" if he is to become one of the sports elite.
Verstappen is never too far from the headlines and, when accusations of Ferrari using illegal practices to increase output from their power unit, it was quotes from the Dutchman that began the witch hunt.
“He drives really fast, he knows how to constantly improve himself and he often steals the show," said Briatore on the official 2019 season review.
“But Verstappen must also learn to keep his mouth shut,” he added, referring in particular to the Dutch driver’s comments about Ferrari’s engine late in 2019.
“He could have left out the accusation that they cheated. First of all, it’s not up to him to make those sorts of statements. Secondly, the whole story was totally inaccurate.”
Briatore was less critical of the Red Bull driver when talking about his recent contract extension at Red Bull. Now signed until 2023, Briatore think this is a wise decision, even if Honda are yet to agree to a long term deal.
“It is a team that is always on the right track,” added Briatore. “But now that Honda is also a permanent force in the team, the uncertainty surrounding the power and reliability of the engine is also decreasing.
“It’s nice to see him at Red Bull, where he is at the top of the field and will now stay there for a long time.
“However, Red Bull is also afraid of losing their partner after 2021."
Across the 2019 season, F1 fans witnessed the birth of a top level rivalry between Verstappen and Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc. Despite the rivalry, Briatore says that he would put the two together in the same team.
“If I put a team together, I would definitely like to have Leclerc and Verstappen together," said the Italian. "They are two phenomena with which you could win every Grand Prix and world championship in the coming ten years."
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