Max Verstappen given 'gentle warning' by the FIA after more criticism of his driving style
Red Bull driver met with Race Director Charlie Whiting ahead of Monza practice; Whiting also met with Raikkonen and Vettel
By Pete Gill at Monza
Last Updated: 05/09/16 9:06am
Max Verstappen has been given a 'gentle warning' by the FIA over his driving style.
The Red Bull driver, whose aggressive method of defending track position has been severely criticised by his peers, held talks with FIA Race Director Charlie Whiting on Friday morning at Monza ahead of practice for the Italian GP.
It's unclear whether Verstappen, who was accompanied by Red Bull race manager Jonathan Wheatley, was summoned to attend or if his team instigated the conference.
"Charlie was keen to show him a replay of Spa," Red Bull boss Christian Horner confirmed to Sky Sports F1.
"It was a gentle warning to say 'that''ll be a black and white flag'. [It was] a bit of a warning."
A black and white flag is used in motorsport to warn a driver he has been cited for 'unsporting behaviour'.
Verstappen told Sky F1: "We just had a chat about what happened. I prefer to do it there with Charlie instead of in the media or in the drivers' briefing.
"But Spa is now gone and we are in Monza now, so we focus on Monza."
On Thursday night, Whiting met with Ferrari pair Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel, who have been outspoken in their criticism of the Dutch teenager.
Verstappen has also angered Raikkonen by indicating he regarded his 'block' on Raikkonen during last week's Belgian GP to be 'payback' for their first-lap collision.
"To be honest with you like any 18-year-old [the criticism] seems to be going in one ear and out the other," added Horner.
"He really doesn't care, he's focused on his own job, he's not intimidated by the surroundings he's in and I think that's what marks him out as a real talent and star of the future."
What do the rules say?
Contrary to what is widely assumed, the rules do not specifically outlaw moving in the braking zone - a frequent accusation levelled at Verstappen.
While Article 27.6 of the regulations, which Verstappen was accused of breaking in Hungary states that 'more than one change of direction to defend a position is not permitted', Article 27.7, which is the most relevant to the incident at Spa, simply states 'Any driver defending his position on a straight, and before any braking area, may use the full width of the track during his first move, provided no significant portion of the car attempting to pass is alongside his car.'
As McLaren's Fernando Alonso noted, "I don't think Kimi was side-by-side [when] Max moved."
However, the regulations do contain a catch-all clause under which Verstappen, or any other driver accused of driving dangerously, could theoretically be charged. It states: '27.5 At no time may a car be driven unnecessarily slowly, erratically or in a manner which could be deemed potentially dangerous to other drivers or any other person.'
What does Verstappen say?
Verstappen has been unrepentant about his driving style, repeatedly reminding his critics that the stewards did not even investigate either of his controversial moves defending against Raikkonen in July's Hungarian GP or in Spa last week.
"There have been no penalties given, so there is no reason to change something," a defiant Verstappen said on Thursday at Monza. "I do my thing - with my driving style as it always was."
Verstappen is likely to face a barrage of criticism from his peers in Friday night's drivers' briefing, but was unfazed - and apparently unmoved - when faced with a similar situation in Germany the week after the Hungarian GP.
"It's not because other drivers tell me to change my driving style that l will change my driving style," says Verstappen.