Mercedes boss Toto Wolff and Red Bull chief Christian Horner have clashed over the Austrian’s phone call to Jos Verstappen about his son Max.
Wolff has admitted to Sportsclubsociety F1 he did discuss the Red Bull driver’s on-track approach during his conversation with Jos but said that such calls between them were commonplace and was scathing in reponse when told of Red Bull’s unhappiness.
“I just want to have a great season finale and no controversy because of another car causing a collision and being blamed for having interfered in the championship,” said the Austrian.
“I did it probably out of a more holistic approach of sympathy for Max, but if things are perceived in the wrong way in another team they don’t need me, they need a psychiatrist.”
While team boss Chrstian Horner has criticised Wolff’s actions, Verstappen himself has shrugged off the controversy.
“I was next to my dad when he called,” the teenager told Sky F1. “He went outside, I was watching TV and didn’t want to be disturbed.
“I am just here to focus on my job and that is to drive fast for Red Bull, not Mercedes.”
Verstappen and championship leader Rosberg made contact in Mexico as they battled over second place at the start of the race and the teenager was criticised by Wolff following the race.
The Austrian branded Verstappen “ruthless” and told reporters “you don’t bang wheels with the championship leader three races until the end” following the incident.
“Among my discussion with Jos, we talked through a situation, imagine the title is down to the wire between Lewis and Nico and there is a hard manoeuvre and Max loses it and shunts into one of our guys and the championship is over, he doesn’t need that discussion,” Wolff confirmed to Sportsclubsociety F1.
“I didn’t say don’t race them, just keep that tiny little margin of avoiding a collision because that would be very controversial for everyone.”
However, Red Bull team principal Horner was surprised to learn a rival team had been discussing the driving of one of his drivers.
“Jos told me when he got here on Thursday and I was just a bit surprised that Toto was calling another driver’s father from another team,” the Red Bull boss told Sportsclubsociety F1.
“I think Jos was a bit surprised when he put the phone down to Toto that not only was he commenting on behalf of Mercedes, but Ferrari as well that the way Max was conducting himself wasn’t winning him any favours and he should wind his neck in.
“I’ve not heard of a team principal calling up other driver’s fathers before, but obviously Toto felt the need to do so.”
Horner joked Mercedes could have their own private one-on-one race before the actual Grand Prix on Sunday if that is what Wolff wanted.
“I think it is total rubbish. If Toto wants to have a race for his drivers we can do that at 11am tomorrow then we can have the Grand Prix at 2pm where everybody can race,” he added.