Max Verstappen has been made to perform his 'public service' punishment at the Formula E-Prix in Marrakech this weekend, and Sam Bird has said he believes that it sends the wrong message to people about the championship.
Verstappen was ordered to two days of service following an incident with Esteban Ocon last November. The Dutchman was leading the Brazilian Grand Prix when he came into contact with Ocon, who was attempting to unlap himself. At the weigh-in room after the race, Verstappen swapped some harsh words with the Frenchman before pushing him several times.
Bird, the Virgin driver who started the race on Saturday on pole has taken issue with this ruling: “I mean, to call coming to Formula E race ‘community service’ I think does Formula E a bit of an injustice,” he said in response to a question from RaceFans. "t shouldn’t be a punishment to come here.
“I hope he enjoyed it and I hope he will give good feedback to some of his colleagues,” Bird added.
Verstappen managed to earn himself more penalties last year than any of his rivals, and has admitted that the time he has spent with the stewards this weekend has proven to be useful.
“It’s interesting to see it from the other side,” said the Red Bull driver in a statement released by the championship. “Normally you can’t spend an entire day with the stewards.
“Everybody does their own job during the weekend, and it’s good to really see what it takes to make these important decisions. Sometimes a decision might not be nice for a certain person but it has to be taken and you have to follow the rules. I think it’s good to experience different things in racing rather than just sitting in the car – to be here and do this kind of work has been a constructive thing for me.”
When asked what he thought about the championship, he said: “I’ve of course followed Formula E a bit on TV but I’ve never been in the paddock, and I really enjoyed the day. First of all it was a really exciting race. The championship is clearly growing and there are a lot of manufacturers here, so I think it’s a cool series.”