Typically when Red Bull has won a race, it celebrates with a full team picture to immortalise the moment, which concludes with team staff soaking each other in Red Bull’s eponymous caffeinated product.
The Milton Keynes-based squad usually holds these celebratory moments in the F1 pitlane – either with the main straight of the track in the background or right in front of its pit garage.
Following Verstappen’s third world title being confirmed with his second place behind Oscar Piastri in the sprint race at Losail, Red Bull elected to take just one celebratory picture in front of its Qatar pitbox.
It then moved its most exuberant celebrations a few hundred metres back down the pitlane – and away from the asphalt the cars traverse at this point – to take shots where the Red Bull drink was thrown about.
This took place in front of a nondescript building on the edge of the Losail paddock. The change of location was important because in doing so Red Bull ensured it did not risk an FIA sanction for potentially altering its own pitbox.
Leaving a sticky residue on its own pit area could in theory have been a breach of Article 34.10 of F1’s sporting rules, which states: “Other than by drying or sweeping, or by laying tyre rubber when cars leave their pitstop position, competitors may not attempt to enhance the grip of the surface in the pitlane unless a problem has been clearly identified and a solution agreed to by the safety delegate.”
Although spraying liquid in celebration would not be a deliberate attempt to alter a pitbox grip level, a Red Bull team insider confirmed to Autosport that it had decided to move the celebrations to avoid the risk of any suggestion that spilled drinks could be deemed to have changed the grip levels at its pitbox.
Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing, celebrates with his team after securing the 2023 world drivers championship title
Photo by: Zak Mauger / Motorsport Images
Saturday night party
Although Red Bull still has the main grand prix to focus on, team boss Christian Horner insisted that the squad would not delay partying its latest title success.
Speaking in the Qatar paddock, he admitted it was strange to have the crown on a Saturday – but insisted the team would not hold fire in enjoying its glory.
“It’s a first for us and it is unusual,” he said. “But you know what – achieving a world championship is the most magical feeling and something that, as a team, you have to celebrate that moment. You have to be in the now basically.
“So tonight as a team, we’ll get together, have a couple of Red Bulls and non-alcoholic beers. Then thankfully, it’s a late start tomorrow.
“We’ll come back and try and do it all again in the grand prix, although they’ve got quite a bit of work to do on Checo’s car to get that turned around.”
Verstappen also admitted that he would take things a little easy after grabbing his third championship.
Asked how he would be celebrating, he said: “Quite a few sparkling waters tonight but I’ll be here tomorrow.”