Max Verstappen asks us into the Red Bull Racing team truck somewhere in a field in Milton Keynes. While 30,000 racing fans line the fences of the demonstration event as the driver drives his last laps in 2022, Verstappen is using the front cabin of the trailer to warm up between ‘show laps’. So do not luxury today “hospitality’. The driver thinks everything is fine. He is in a good mood and, as always, is up for a joke. Especially today, because this is officially his last working day in 2022.
How happy are you with that?
“It’s very nice that after a long and beautiful season there is a break. Enjoy doing nothing. It’s also fun for your body. No stress for a while. We’ll go on holiday after Christmas, and then we can focus on next season.”
It will start again in two months. If China is replaced, 24 races will be completed next year.
“I’ve often pointed out that this is overrated and the main reason I won’t continue to do this until I’m 40. Traveling a lot and stuff, it’s not healthy. I still really love her now, but you have to give up a lot for her. This is It sounds crazy because of course driving Formula 1 is a dream for many people, but it really is. You’re so far from home and from the people you love. There comes a time when you’re done with it.”
Now you’re 25 and you have a contract until 2028. And I said sometimes it might just have expired. Fans are very concerned about that.
“But it’s really true. Then when I’m done I’ll stop. Quite simply. But for the same money I still enjoy it and I’ll continue for another year or two. As a Formula 1 driver then hey. I’ll really keep racing, but then I’ll do other things.” “.
If it stops, it will also be a big blow for Formula 1 in the Netherlands. Then maybe it means the end of the Grand Prix in Zandvoort and nobody watches the races on TV anymore. Much depends on you. Have you thought about that before?
“Do you know what I really hope for? As a racing driver, I have been able to inspire and motivate the young Dutch generation in such a way that I can stop there when there are new talents ready. It used to be said that it was impossible for the Dutch to get to Formula 1. That is not true. If you get gassed, it doesn’t matter who Where did I come from. I hope when I’m 31 there will be a new one ready.”
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(with a wink) You want kids. You can also create that talent yourself a la Jos Verstappen, Sophie Kumpen…
“But he won’t be ready for Formula 1 in six or seven years, haha. I definitely want kids and if they want to race, that’s fine. I think I’ll do it differently than me and my dad did. I don’t see it at the moment. But it’s easy for Let me speak because I don’t have kids. Maybe I’ll think very differently when the time comes. But the passion he had just cut him too far. He did everything for me. Tuning the engines and setting up karts. I don’t see myself doing that. Anyway, I’m not going to push my kids To race. They have to want it themselves. And if you go out with your son or daughter, you can’t drive in Formula 1 yourself, I think. You have to start laying the foundation from the age of four. I want to be there myself.”
Speaking of your father. He is now fully active again as a driver in a somewhat serious system. Certainly recently there have been a number of fatal accidents in a crowd. Have you ever worried about him hurtling down those narrow streets at 180hrs?
“I always tell him to pay attention. That’s what he always tells me. Look, he always wants to do his best with all the risks involved. I say: It’s no longer necessary. You don’t have to win. You can also have fun if you only occasionally risk 1 percent.” Fewer. Relatively a lot of accidents happen in the rally. You write off at least one car every year. The races he drives are a bit safer than some of the world championship races, but still… I always follow him by the live timing and after that I’m happy Every time he comes in, yeah. Very relieved? A little bit anyway.”
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It was your friend Kelly’s birthday recently. It was seen on social media that she received a huge bouquet of flowers in her hotel room in London. The sender was Max Verstappen. Are you romantic
“Sometimes you have to, haha.”
You wouldn’t share something like this on social media yourself.
“I don’t feel the need to show my private life to the outside world. Kelly does it much less than before. When I’m done with Formula 1, I don’t see myself posting much afterwards. I just don’t like it. Some people don’t do anything else all day, I Busy with other things. For example, I spend a lot of time on my phone, but that’s more for arranging things around my sim team (virtual race, ed.). It also takes a lot of time, but because it’s my passion, I really enjoy working on it.”
Looking back at last year. What is important to you?
“In terms of racing, that was the victory in Spa from midfield. It was really cool how everything came together for us there. Our car was perfect. Winning the world title was of course the most important thing.”
Because of the uncertainty about scoring, after the race in Japan, it wasn’t sure if you had enough points to be sure of the world title at that time. Did that take the shine off this singular moment?
“Not for me. When you’re done with it and you look back, you don’t think about how you became a world champion. What matters is that you became on it. The road doesn’t matter. My dad and I always said that to each other: It doesn’t matter how you win, as long as you win.”