Jos Verstappen: “Giving up Max is definitely painful, but the value…

Grandmother –

In about twenty years, Jos Verstappen has shaped his son Max from kart talent into potential world champion in Formula 1. It’s time to let the man who found the right mix of hard training school and parenting hugs do the talking.

Embroidered drops on his forehead. No, it’s not a sweat of fear that Jos Verstappen plays tricks in the heat of Jeddah. The temperature hit 34 degrees in the late afternoon, before night fell and it cooled off a bit. But there is some tension with Verstappen Senior, whose son Max has the best cards to write the history of the sport by becoming the first-ever Dutchman to become Formula 1 world champion. Of course I want to see the finale here or next week in Abu Dhabi. Wouldn’t it be weird if you watched it from TV.”

Capturing the eventual world title is the final link in a project that began nearly two decades ago: Jos Verstappen teaches his son Max the tricks of the trade and gradually discovers that the boy has exceptional talent. The rest is history and it has been described many times.

After all these years as a father, how do you stand in the process of what happened?

“Of course I’ve known for a long time that Max has something special and he has proven that from the start in Formula 1. But I couldn’t imagine he would do so well at such an exceptionally high level. Of course it makes me proud.”

Has this steep performance curve changed your attitude as a father?

“Yes. Over the years I’ve become more relaxed. At first I’m still in doubt, but then you see it’s working fine, it’s grown up and matured and it’s in control of everything. This gives peace of mind.”

Has anything changed about the strong bond you always had with Max?

“Now he also has his own life, lives independently, and oftentimes draws his own plan. Getting laid off sometimes hurts. It makes sense to me, being a father. Max isn’t someone who communicates much anyway. Sometimes I think: Come on, get me involved. More, tell me a little more. On the other hand, it’s also her strength. I may not always like it, but it leads. Then you should leave it that way. Appreciation, I savor it anyway. I don’t need to hear it every day. I know what I did from Yes it is and Max knows it too. I went all the way to give him everything and teach him the way I thought I should.”

Have you ever had a moment where you thought: Now I can’t teach him anything anymore?

“What is learning? At first, Helmut Marko wanted me to be everywhere, to maintain control. But at the end of his first year at Red Bull I felt I had to take a step back.”

Do you regret anything?

“Not at all. I think Raymond Vermeulen (Editor) and Max and I make a perfect team. Here at Red Bull Racing we’re in a good place. There were talks with Toto Wolff and I also thought we had a good relationship with him, but the real Toto has shown himself recently. There is no longer a click.”

Is he a bad loser?

“You can say that, yes. Mercedes of course has been a pioneer for years. Now they are cornered for the first time and you see another Toto. It’s a shame, but that’s how you get to know people.”

So there is no reason to move.

“New. It’s also about Helmut Marko. The three of us – Max, Raymond and myself – are totally pressed with him. No nonsense, straight forward. We are the same in character. Sometimes it gets hard and we tell each other the truth. But Formula 1 is tough. Try to hold on.” By yourself in this world, in any area. We know what we want. And if it doesn’t fit, it doesn’t fit, and vague talk is useless. But that’s not the case.”

Don’t you think about the future then?

“Sure, but we still have two years at Red Bull anyway. It becomes important how the new rules are interpreted and what that means for performance. But it feels good here and we have plenty of time.”

Jos Verstappen.

Photo: Agence France-Presse

If you had to analyze Max’s season, what would your conclusions be?

“He did it perfectly, regardless of whether Max becomes world champion or not. I don’t think he can be blamed and he got the maximum result from all situations.”

Did you ever think that the Max effect would be this big? There is a real max obsession.

“No, but I think the main reason is that Max is pure. He’s the same, he’s not made. That doesn’t always sound sympathetic, but you know what you get from Max.”

Besides the battle on the track between Max and Lewis Hamilton, there also appears to be a media battle going on.

“That’s how I experience, yeah. The English flock to Lewis en masse and trying to make a story out of everything. They often look for something that isn’t there. We’ve always been very open to the British press, but when you see things get taken out of context a few times, you think “Don’t worry. Fernando Alonso recently noted that Formula 1 is very British oriented and the press plays a major role in this. He’s experienced this himself in the past. But Max doesn’t care. He’s drawing up his own plan.”

You are no longer at all racing. Is this a conscious choice?

“Yeah. I deliberately took more distance. I also have kids sitting at home and I also have a nice life off the track. And that’s not nice here, with all those restrictions since covid too. I loved it in the past, that comfort. A cup of coffee, catching up with friends. I’ve It’s all settled due to the Corona scales, so I’m glad I don’t have to be everywhere anymore. Plus, Max is calling every day and we’re always aware of what’s going on.”

What are you talking about next?

“For the race, about situations and things that happen. Like in Brazil in terms of defending in overtaking Lewis. Then I say how I see it. I give my opinion on everything. Max will filter out what he can or cannot do with it.”

So Max is listening well?

“I don’t call that listening. That’s not the right word. We talk about it. He knows I’m not crazy. That’s the mutual trust that was built. As a kid, you always believed that your dad was the best, strongest, and smartest. But a lot of things came true too.” Things I said. It makes him feel good and this relationship is very good.”

Does it hurt if Max still misses the title?

This is painful for sure, but you can’t control everything on your own. In addition, Max did everything he could. And yes, Helmut Marko said it before: Max lost a lot of points through no fault of his own. Much more than Lewis. But you can’t change it anymore, so…”

Also read: F1 reporter saw Verstappen grow out of his diapers and cherish his birth announcement: He experienced it all with Max

“Year of Max” book about a great F1 season

Immediately after the GP in Abu Dhabi, the Max book is rolled out from the presses, but it can already be ordered in the De Limburger online store. A complete book on Max Verstappen’s great Formula 1 season. Now without shipping costs! The ultimate Christmas gift for Formula 1 fans can be ordered via:

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