Sophie-Marie ‘Sophie’ Kumpen is Max Verstappen’s mother, but what role does the former Belgian racing driver actually play in her son’s life? And why wasn’t Combin present when Verstappen won his first world title in Formula 1?
Sophie Combin was born on October 30, 1975 in the Belgian city of Hasselt, where her son Max was later born. Hasselt is the capital of the Belgian province of Limburg and currently has a population of over 79,000. Sports and racing also ran in her veins early on from my mother’s side. Compen is actually the daughter of former KRC Genk football club president, Robert Compen. His brother Paul and Anthony were consecutive rally racing drivers. Sophie herself soon caught the racing virus and started karting at the age of eleven. Max’s race DNA doesn’t just come from Father Gus.
Sophie Combin was also a talented driver
When we talk about Max Verstappen as a driver and where he got his talent from, it is often referred to as Father Joss, who has been active as a Formula 1 driver in the past. However, mother Sophie was also a very talented driver. Kumpen had a successful karting career, competing against such famous names as Jenson Button, Nick Heidfeld, Jarno Trulli and Giancarlo Fisichella. In 1995, Kumpen achieved great success by winning the Andrea Margutti Cup. Kumpen has competed in several classes during her racing career, including Formula A and Formula K.
Kumpen put Max Verstappen’s career aside
In 1996, Kumpen tied the knot with Jos Verstappen. The marriage caused Kumpen to put her motorsports career at the forefront. “Because of our racing career, we never saw each other,” said Compen. Limburger† “We had to choose. Jos was already driving in Formula 1. I dreamed about it too, but I hadn’t started yet. I couldn’t ask him to give up. I did some tests in motorsport, but it went well. Not easy. It might take It’s years until I get better. So I quit.”
Barely a year later, when Sophie was only 23 years old, son Max was born. Although Kumpen kept itching to get back into the race, Gus stopped her. “Joss always convinced me not to do it, and to be there for him and the kids. It’s thanks to him that I ended up in Formula 1,” said Combin, who also became a mother to daughter Victoria in 1999.
Kumpen and Verstappen’s divorce
Over the years, the marriage between Kumpen and Verstappen began to show hairline cracks. In 2008, the relationship effectively ended and a year later Gus was given a suspended prison sentence and a fine for hitting Compan. Since Verstappen, who lived in the Netherlands, was busy training Max’s son, Kumpen saw her chance to get back into the racing world. In 2013, she returned as a driver in the Formido Swift Cup.
During the last races of the same year, at the Zandvoort circuit, Combin crashed in her Suzuki Swift and broke a vertebra. This marked the definite end of her career. She then decided to focus on a position of social support worker at the OCMW in Maaseik, a public municipal body in Belgium.
Kumpen disappeared into the background a bit
With Max Verstappen driving in Formula 1, mom Sophie can still be found at the track regularly, but not so much as dad Joss. Max’s father played a major role in his son’s career and attended most of the races, especially as a mentor. So Max spent more time with his father in Holland, as a result of which mother Sophie is in the background. “I lived in Belgium only to sleep, but during the day I went to Holland and I also had my friends there,” Verstappen said at the time.
She always had a good relationship with Max
Although Max was more with his father and focused only on his racing career, the relationship with his mother always remained good. This is clearly visible on her Instagram account, where she has been regularly sharing pictures of her with Max and/or Victoria by her side for years. Sophie was perhaps the biggest absentee during the season finale in Abu Dhabi, as Max eventually crowned himself the Formula 1 World Championship for the first time, however, there is good reason for Combin’s absence. The daughter, Victoria, had just given birth to a child.
Watch Compen’s son Max’s World Cup title at home
Although Kumpen couldn’t be there live, she did follow the exciting race in Abu Dhabi at home in front of the TV. She had already lit a candle for Max before the match and asked God for help for her son. Victoria’s daughter also sent her a letter. She wrote: “Mom, now the angels really need to do their work!” And they did, because Max was crowned Formula 1 world champion. “To get here, where he is now, I let him go for it,” said Sophie Compen proud. RTL Boulevard†
Stay informed throughout the Formula 1 season
The most important F1 news received in a weekly newsletter. Includes specials and exclusive interviews.