Red Bull Motorsport Advisor Helmut Marko has recently confirmed that Max Verstappen, the now-three-time Formula 1 champion, will be provided with bodyguards to ensure his protection at the Mexico City Grand Prix. This decision stems from a combination of past hostilities and concerns about fan behavior at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez.
Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez, teammates at Red Bull Racing, have had a rocky relationship during their time together on the same team. Last season, tensions reached a breaking point, and while things appear to have improved in public, there are still lingering feelings of unease. This situation has not been helped by Verstappen’s recent string of successes and Perez’s challenges on the track.
The tension between the two drivers was palpable when Verstappen won the United States Grand Prix last weekend, where he faced a chorus of boos from the crowd. Even as he collected his trophy on the podium, the hostility continued. The reason for this unwelcoming reception is clear: the Mexican crowd’s undying support for their home favorite, Sergio Perez.
With the Mexico City Grand Prix just around the corner, a similar welcome is anticipated. While it may seem unusual for a Formula 1 driver of Verstappen’s stature to have security bodyguards, the decision is not entirely unfounded. The Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez has experienced issues in recent years related to fan behavior in the paddock area. Several drivers have recounted incidents of being swarmed by supporters seeking pictures and autographs, with Pierre Gasly even suggesting that personal belongings had been tampered with.
Helmut Marko, the Red Bull Motorsport Advisor, addressed the decision to employ bodyguards for Verstappen’s safety. He explained, “Max doesn’t actually want that and is relaxed. But we have responsibility for him, so we just want to be on the safe side.”