Verstappen eager to avoid “silly mistakes” after crash

2014 F1 season

Red Bull’s decision to promote Max Verstappen to Formula One next year at the age of 17 provoked many questions about whether he will be mature and experienced enough to handle it.

Those questions grew even louder after Verstappen had a low-speed crash during a public demonstration run in the VKV City Racing event Rotterdam on Sunday.

But while videos of his embarrassing prang quickly circulated on the internet, Verstappen’s explanation for the incident was widely overlooked.

The 16-year-old said he was trying to spin the car around but was surprised by how much grip he had and how quickly the clutch bit, and hit the wall.

“The guys pushed me back and I made a flick around,” Verstappen explained, “but I just had too much… I think the rear tyres were too warm so I pulled the clutch and I just went a bit forward so I just clipped, with my front wing, the barrier.”

“I flicked it around and then it just pushed forward so I pulled the clutch and it just touched and then of course the whole wing breaks.”

Prior to the crash Verstappen described the course as “a bit bumpy on some spots” but said he was able to get up to sixth gear in places.

However he admitted he will have to avoid “silly mistakes” when he makes his race debut for Toro Rosso next year.

“Now it’s important to get used to an F1 car properly, to be really confident in it like I was in the F3 car. And from there on I think it’s just a case, you know, be consistent from the start of the season, don’t make silly mistakes and be fast.

“You have to challenge your team mate as well because if you are far behind that, that’s not a good thing.”

Pictures: Max Verstappen at VKV City Racing

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41 comments on Verstappen eager to avoid “silly mistakes” after crash

  1. jacobf90 (@jacobf90) said on 2nd September 2014, 9:57

    I’m not going to judge – he’s doing far better than I could do if I were to jump into an F1 car tomorrow!

  2. Jimbo Hull (@kartingjimbo) said on 2nd September 2014, 9:59

    Fair play to the kid. All those people yesterday desperate to call him out for such an insignificant prang need to re-address what they’re interested the sport for. To take such pleasure in a complete rookie, the youngest one at that knocking his nose off in the lamest ‘crash’ ever is rather pathetic. Him doing donuts on a public road for demonstration purposes has no real relation to what he’ll be doing next year, feel free to judge him on all that when it comes to it.

  3. Toxic (@toxic) said on 2nd September 2014, 10:19

    Ehhh… kids.

  4. Vincent said on 2nd September 2014, 10:23

    This “kid” is going to be a fresh breath in F1.
    Friendly, Smart and extremely fast.

  5. Todd (@braketurnaccelerate) said on 2nd September 2014, 10:31

    Maldonado had a much worse crash than this. Where are the people questioning his maturity level?

  6. socksolid (@socksolid) said on 2nd September 2014, 10:53

    A lot of drivers have spun and broke their cars in these events. It almost feels like it is part of the show when the driver destroys a front wing or hits something.

  7. Is this some kind of joke?
    It was a low speed, if he wasn’t going to make the turn there is a brake pedal you can use!!!
    Maybe he’s too young to know about the brake pedal.

    • No joke, @gqsm! Here’s article 1.1 from the 2014 European F3 series rulebook.

      No car is to be equipped with a brake pedal or handbrake of any sort. Enginebraking is also disallowed. This is to make sure any driver is not prepared for higher classes with brake pedals and to unlearn the use of brake pedals used in karting.

      However I’m glad you’re following rule 3.14 from the ‘international code for online sports discussion’, stating:

      When any (athlete) you dislike makes a mistake, be sure to write them off over it and remind people of incidents every time the (athlete’s) name pops up.

      • @npf1 my comment is as is, you seem to be trying to read into it and you’ve just ended up making the wrong assumptions, so I’ll put you in the picture.
        I don’t know enough about him to either like or dislike him at this stage.
        Do I think he’s too young? I’m not sure anyone on the planet is mature enough for F1 at that age but our opinions don’t make much difference at the end of the day and I’m pretty indifferent on the whole thing.
        I will be interested to see how he does but I don’t particularly care much. If he does well, good for him, if he doesn’t then I won’t blame him for taking the opportunity as I lot of us would have taken the drive too if offered it.
        However in regards this incident, it looks like a really stupid error and he should be embarrassed. That would go for any F1 driver, and already does as he’s not the first.

  8. Honestly…. he doesn’t look like a very smart driver…

    • Honestly, he’s doing ok. Have you ever watched F3?

      I would’ve crash aswell for my first F1 outing in a bumpy street course, stressed about my responsability in the car and pressured by the close crowd to show well.

      With an F1 contract in hand at 17, I would’ve been rather arrogant off-track and over aggressive on-track. He, is looking very mature, still a kid but looks very much prepared with medias, PR operations, etc…

      I’m not a pro Verstappen – not an anti, I wanted Da Costa in F1 this year and Sainz Jr next year, but I’ll just wait and see, and respect Max for his abilities.

    • pastaman (@pastaman) said on 2nd September 2014, 13:24

      Honestly…. You don’t look like a very smart commenter…

  9. While there’s no denying the crash was perhaps more than silly, it’s not really unexpected at this point. I’m sure this is why the Young Driver Tests aren’t around Singapore or Monaco; new drivers getting to grips with a car will go over the limit (even at low speeds) quite easily. But people have been piling on Max and he has sadly given them some more ammo with this shunt.

    Now, what the story of this article to me as a Jos Verstappen fan is; how much more mature he is than his father. Jos Verstappen has never been very open to criticism and never really owned up to mistakes, either as far as his career goes or individual incidents. The 2001 incident with Montoya was Verstappen’s fault per default, as he crashed into Montoya and was being lapped; to this day he claims he braked at the same point as the last lap and that’s that. No consideration for behaving differently if it involves intervening in the race of drivers on the main lap, no consideration for his team..

    Max seems to be far more level-headed and while I’ll again say the shunt has more to it than a ‘silly mistake’, if Jos had crashed an F1 car last weekend, he would have probably complained about some part on the car or waved any criticism aside. I’ll wait until Melbourne before I consider Max as an F1 driver, but he is impressing me outside of the cockpit already.

    • verstappen (@verstappen) said on 2nd September 2014, 14:09

      Jos surely did his genes a favour by marrying the mother of his children!
      The difference is enourmous.

      It must be character, because I can’t imagine Jos being a good coach for things like introspection etc.

  10. ADD (@addimaf1) said on 2nd September 2014, 12:50

    Why was the guys first taste of Formula 1 was doing donuts for the crowds in a tight street. Experienced aces even screw that up sometimes. Why wasn’t he pounding laps around the Red bull ring or something like that when he could practice what he is actually going to do.

    • JeffreyJ said on 2nd September 2014, 12:57

      Because Toro Rosso is great at nurturing and developing talent?

      He’ll get enoufh practice though between the simulator, YDT and pre-season testing.

    • MagicSpin said on 2nd September 2014, 17:59

      strictly speaking, it wasn’t

      afaik he took the car out for a little bit at Rockingham

  11. greg-c (@greg-c) said on 2nd September 2014, 13:03

    Meh !

    he lost a wing doing donuts,

    so what ?

    Last race weekend Nico lost a wing ?
    Last race weekend Fernando lost a wing running into the reigning World Champion ! no less.

    So give the kid a break, Grosjean is still racing ,

    • Ayrtonfan (@) said on 2nd September 2014, 14:05

      Agreed- give the kid a break (but is was funny).
      I know next to nothing about young Max but wish him all the best to be the youngest ever on the grid next year.

      If he is too young or not (and I think maybe) or if he is the new young wiz kid or just RBR trying to take him so Mercedes could not, I really don’t know, but I hope not. The top 3 teams are working real hard on the young driver programs, RBR can claim it success with Seb but at the expense of how many??
      I don’t think JEV wont race next year, but if not is it again for a new young gun (maybe) to replace a guy that is a good racer, great speed but not in a great car- what if he got RIC’s job this year??

      Even world class guys in F1 need some time to settle in. But I do hope young Max comes in like Danill and make a good impression.

  12. Philippe (@philippe) said on 2nd September 2014, 14:22

    That’s not a Toro Rosso… That’s the 2012 Red Bull with Toro Rosso livery.

  13. Meander (@meander) said on 2nd September 2014, 14:23

    People are pretending that he got in the car and crashed into a barrier. Fact is, he was doing demonstrations ALL DAY. In his 3rd run iirc the shunt happened. Of course it was a bit silly, but IMHO the course was a bit silly as well. It was really right; I used to live near there and I was uncomfortable there in my normal car even without the guard rails.
    He did another run afterwards with no problems.

  14. WilliamB (@william-brierty) said on 2nd September 2014, 14:36

    At least we now know that Mercedes forced Red Bull’s hand with Verstappen, with Red Bull forced to stoop to the ridiculous to counter what presumably was an offer of a reserve role and fully backed FR3.5/GP2 campaign by Mercedes, with the proof being the fact that Marko is denying it. The contact in the demonstration run, no matter how minor or trivial, is of course an illustration that the extent of power is alien to him.

    The only remotely measured and insightful remark on this highly polarized issue (with there seemingly being no middle ground between Villeneuve’s “bad for F1″ throwaway and those that claim “if you’re good enough you’re old enough”) I found, of all places, on Sky Sports News’ midweek F1 round-up. Alex Brundle, who appears to share his dad’s knack for hitting the nail on the head, described junior talents as being “flavour of the month” from time to time, and much as Antonio Felix da Costa’s incredible 2012 season caught the attention of the F1 paddock (before having a poor 2013 FR3.5 campaign and promptly falling into DTM/test team anonymity), Verstappen’s F3 exploits have perhaps wrongly diverted attention away from the largely flawless jobs Sainz, Gasly and Lynn have been doing in their respected series. The danger is Verstappen, who is doubtlessly worthy of F1, is being promoted because he is “flavour of the month” rather than ready and able, and there is little more reliable a ruiner of young motorsporting careers than premature promotion.

    And that is the crux of my objection to Max’s F1 promotion: not that it’s “bad for F1″ or that he’s especially too young but simply the fact that is has the potential to damage a very promising career, and has certainly compromised the careers of Sainz, Gasly and Lynn; who are all F1 material. It would also be less worrying if the Red Bull Junior Programme hadn’t established a knack for falling for “flavours of month” by prematurely promoting one Jaime Alguersuari…

  15. Matthijs (@matthijs) said on 2nd September 2014, 16:26

    To me, two things are absolute clear: 1: Verstappen is an exceptional talent. 2: he is young and inexperienced and will make mistakes.

    It seems that to many it has to be one way or the other, when it probably will be both next year.

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