Verstappen shows talent still matters in F1 – drivers

2014 Belgian Grand Prix

Max Verstappen, European Formula Three, Van Amersfoort Racing, Nurburgring, 2014Formula One drivers say Max Verstappen’s impending promotion to Formula One next year at the age of 17 shows talented drivers can still make their way to the sport without financial backing.

“All the journalists are always asking ‘is it only with money that you can get into the sport?’ and things like that,” said Nico Rosberg.

“It’s great to see that if you have the talent and you really deserve it, there’s been many examples now recently that have made it into F1. That’s important, that’s good. Of course it’s very young but I think it will be OK.”

Felipe Massa agreed, pointing out Verstappen has been successful in his career so far. “He’s a very quick driver and he shows big talent in go-karts, Formula Three, winning many races – I think he’s second in championship,” he said.

“But it’s his opportunity. I think first of all it’s great that teams are still interested in the talent of the driver, not in the money, and I think that’s really positive, that’s good for the sport in general and I’m happy for that.”

However all the drivers in today’s press conference agreed they would not have been ready to take the plunge into F1 at the age Verstappen will be next March.

“Seventeen is a little bit young for sure,” said Massa, “I don’t know, we need to wait and see how he is going to perform in his first year.”

Daniel Ricciardo, who like Verstappen was part of Red Bull’s driver development programme, said “It makes me feel a bit old!”

“But definitely Red Bull’s junior team and the programme for me worked a treat, helped me get to where I am so obviously it’s good they’re now helping out Max.

“Obviously the age is a question mark but the talent, as Felipe said, is there. It’s going to be interesting but yeah, it’s good.”

Verstappen’s future team mate Daniil Kvyat, who is one of the eight drivers in F1 history to make their debut as a teenager, expects he will get up to speed quickly.

“I think any driver can come to Formula One and can adapt, get up to speed,” he said. “I think everybody’s coming to Formula One because of some reason, because he has talent, because he’s been successful somewhere.”

“There is always a reason why someone comes to F1. But there are many different things that make the difference, simple as that.”

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13 comments on Verstappen shows talent still matters in F1 – drivers

  1. SP (@jb001) said on 21st August 2014, 15:00

    Where did they think Verstappen got the money from to race in karting, FWS and F3 to be noticed in the first place? Like most feeder series drivers in Europe, he brought money to race. Red Bull weren’t funding him until a week ago.

    Besides, Dietrich Mateschitz was a billionaire before he even thought about buying into F1. Sauber picking a young driver on talent would be more notable.

    • Or have you forgotten about Force India? For them, a talented driver who BRINGS money is a bonus. Force India honed Adrian Sutil for five long years, and he brought a little money in the form of Capri-Sun (Correct me if I am wrong) and now Sergio Perez brings sponsorship. Other than that, all of their drivers have come by virtue of talent. All this, with apparently the 3rd lowest budget of any team.

    • Nick (@npf1) said on 21st August 2014, 15:26

      What did the other drivers bring to karting, FWS and F3? A nice smile and a way to keep the team boss’ daughter happy?

      Peter Sauber isn’t exactly a poor person who just happens to have an F1 team either. Not to mention, the last time they picked a driver’s talent over the money was Kobayashi. Perez went on to McLaren and now Force India, Kobayashi was bumped down to Caterham and now is on the sidelines. Having people back you is an essential part of motorsport, even at top teams.

      One week it’s bad a driver comes into the sport because he has money, the next it’s bad because he’s backed by a team or supplier. There’s just no pleasing some people when it comes to how a driver enters the sport, is there?

  2. Custard said on 21st August 2014, 15:26

    Would Lewis Hamilton, Rosberg, Vettel or Alonso still be in F1 if they joined Toro Rossi at the age of 17? I don’t think they’d have the same reputation at least.

  3. Marcel said on 21st August 2014, 16:29

    In karting Max was a CRG factory driver apart form a short spell at intrepid. For his F3 euro series he secured sponsorship from Jumbo the second supermarkt chain in the Netherlands. Owner First van Eerd is a fanatic collector of F1-racing cars which he races too.

    Some F1 driver already met him.
    http://verstappen.nl/picture/2006/algemeen/DSC_4745.JPG

  4. TrueGrit said on 22nd August 2014, 0:49

    Also helps if you’re Dad happened to be an F1 racer with all the connections etc.

  5. Jeffrey Jung said on 22nd August 2014, 9:40

    Racing Karys is expensive (about €200k a year) and racing junior formula is even more expensive (about €300k-€500k a year). So every kid who participate, no matter the talent ‘brings money’ to race there, just like you have to buy a racket, an outfit and pay tuition to play tennis albeit a little more expensive.

    You can get that money by A having rich parents B finding sponsors C finding a team willing to cover the cists for you or D a combination of the above.

    Max Verstappen raced in the cadet series with equipement bought and operated by his dad Jos Verstappen, who as an exdriver isn’t poor compared to ‘normal’ parents. After winning his first few championships he got some sponsors and raced for factory teams. After he had won many more championships every team in FR 2.0 wanted him as he topped the timing sheets at almost every occasion during pre season testing, so I’m sure they were prepared to give him a discount because they expected more exposure and price money if he’d win for them. Max opted to go racing F3 at almost the last minute (I think in februari/march this yr) because the cars were more challenging. He races for Van Amersfoort Racing, a Dutch team and his dad’s old team so I think he got a discount there as well.

    Now signed by RedBull, he doesn’t have to pay anything to race for Toro Rosso. His sponsors in the Junior formula are dutch companies who can’t even afford F1 sponsorship money and it wouldn’t make sense either to pay that kind of money for just the Dutch market.

    Now, if you are an international corporation like Santander with a big home-maket like Spain it does make sense to sponsor whatever car Fernando Alonso is driving. Like Verstappen and everybody else he too had to pay for Karting and junior formula, probably found a few sponsors then and teams (junior and F1) were probably very eager to take him on because of his talent like with Verstappen.

    That’s a huge difference with another Dutch example Guido vd Garde, he actually has some talent though (good in karting, won the FR3.5) but it’s his billionaire dad and his companies who keep him employed to this day (at 28 and never really making it) not a company or F1 manufacturer willing to support him because they think he’s a future DWC…

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