Reigning World Champion Max Verstappen is known for Dutch pride. The Limburger wears a lion on his helmet, is supported by the Orange Legion and loves to listen to Wilhelmus on the highest rung of the podium.
However, as is known, Max is not entirely Dutch: thanks to his mother Sophie Compen and his birthplace in Hasselt, Belgium, he has dual citizenship. Now that he had reached the pinnacle of sport, in the land of delicious pancakes and chocolate and dangerous big potholes in the road, they suddenly began to take notice.
According to Father Joss, the recent wave of interest from Belgium can be described as “weak” to say the least. In an interview with De Telegraaf, he noted that there was almost no interest in Max in Belgium before. Now that he has achieved great success, some Belgian media are suddenly trying to claim him on the basis of his dual citizenship:
“Everyone wants a piece of Max right now. On the one hand, that’s a nice compliment to him. It works very well. In the car, but also outside. It comes in fine, has a new head and stays the same. So I understand that a lot of people proud.”
“Of course I am, but at some points I have a problem with that. For example, in the eyes of some Belgian media, Max suddenly becomes Belgian. I think that’s kind of weak. We’ve been racing for years, but until a few months ago, he didn’t write About him much or nothing about him in Belgium and now they are suddenly claiming to be theirs. And I absolutely don’t see it that way.”
More frikandels than french fries
Joss, of course, acknowledged that Max has Belgian roots, but insisted that the proportion of Flemish fries is lower than that of Frikandl. Max’s choice to race under the Dutch flag and licence is crucial to Gus:
“The situation is that Max has dual citizenship, because Sophie and I were married when he was born. And since he’s racing on a Dutch license, he’s a little more Dutch than Belgian. That’s how he feels. It’s for Orange.”
Verstappen Senior has a good point there. After all, a driver who chooses to drive under a nationality other than the nationality of his country of birth is nothing new. For example, Jochen Rindt was driving under an Austrian licence, while he was originally a German. Even Opel heir Ricky von Opel chose to represent the no-nonsense miniature country of Liechtenstein in motorsport, despite its birthplace in the United States.
One of the most recent examples of this is Romain Grosjean. Phoenix He has a Swiss father, a French mother and was born in Geneva, but due to the motorsports ban still in force in that country, he chose a French license.
Alex Albon returns this year, riding under a Thai license to distinguish himself in British-dominated motorsport, despite being born in London. Just like the nationality of the teams (which are almost all located in England), the nationality of drivers depends on what they do themselves.