Former F1 driver Stefan Johansson says Max Verstappen's no-compromise driving surpasses the aggressive standards previously set on the track by both Ayrton Senna and Michael Schumacher.
While Verstappen's flamboyant style has impassioned fans and also a few of his rivals, the reigning world champion has also come under heavy criticism for his all-out approach to wheel-to-wheel racing.
However, up and down the grid, teams and drivers have often taken exception with the FIA stewards' decisions, accusing officials of lacking consistency when it comes to judging drivers' actions and those of Verstappen in particular.
Asked if drivers should perhaps come together and enforce their own standards, Johansson said: "The issue we have right now on track is that Max has taken the Senna playbook and the Schumacher playbook to a whole new level.
"Generally, I think there’s a good code of conduct between the drivers.
"Most of the current crop of the new generation of drivers are racing very clean but hard, there’s been some really great battles this year but they’re not at the front and therefore it goes un-noticed for the most part.
"No one cares about the guys in fifth or sixth place."
The Swede isn't putting too much faith in the FIA's ability to determine a clear set of rules for drivers and to show consistency in their sanctions.
And Johansson agrees with Ferrari's Charles Leclerc who stated last year that if Verstappen's aggressive approach becomes the de facto standard, then he will simply join the Dutchman and race accordingly.
"I don’t have a lot of optimism for the changes from the officials," Johansson commented.
"Every year decisions about driving standards and enforcement are getting worse, more and more muddy with more grey areas.
"If Max can get away with what he’s gotten away with in certain cases this year, then like Leclerc said, ‘Ok, fine. If that’s how we’re going to race, then that’s how we have to race.’"
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