Verstappen eager to avoid “silly mistakes” after crash

2014 F1 season

Posted on

| Written by

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

2014 F1 season

Browse all 2014 F1 season articles

Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

Got a potential story, tip or enquiry? Find out more about RaceFans and contact us here.

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

  1. 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. 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. Ehhh… kids.

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

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

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

    1. Everywhere.

    2. The whole world. And who knows, maybe aliens in a galaxy far away know about the legend that is Maldonado: King of crashing into walls and other people.

      1. @ultimateuzair As most countries can’t even watch F1 I highly doubt aliens would be.

        1. @xtwl I was joking about that, yes it was exaggerated. But it still proves my point that a lot of people question Maldonado’s maturity and in my opinion he is about as mature as a 7 year old child with a stupid mentality. For example, 7 year olds think crashing cars is fun. When they watch motorsport, they watch it because they are waiting for a crash which is inevitable when Maldonado is on the grid. Then they get excited and tell their friends about it and think that one day, when they get their driving licence they would immediately want to crash their car. That is the mentality of a 7 year old and that is what Maldonado has. That is one of his problems.

        2. @xtwl Totally, I mean it’s much too expensive for aliens ever to watch, especially after Bernie forced their networks into a bad new contract

    3. the difference is that Maldonado was an active driver when that happened, not a rookie getting into an F1 car for about the 1st time.

    4. right here!
      my fingers became tired of typing about everyone maldo crash…

  6. 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.

    1. 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.

      1. @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.

        1. @gqsm If you don’t care and don’t know, I guess there isn’t a point in responding, then?

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

    1. 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.

    2. 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.

    1. 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. 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.

    1. Because Toro Rosso is great at nurturing and developing talent?

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

    2. strictly speaking, it wasn’t

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

  11. 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 ,

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

  13. 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)
    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. 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.

  16. my little cousin is 13 years old. he is winning almost every karting event he enters. He is pretty good at basic geometry and algebra 1, so he would be really keen on those telemetry charts. yesterday he noticed he is starting to get some fuzzy hairs on his chin!!!

    he is now obviously fully qualified for an F1 drive. Cant wait for him to do some “on the job training” on how to go through Eu Rouge flat out wheel to wheel! What could go wrong??

  17. Hey, why doesn’t any body mention the fact that the City Racing event drew 600.000 spectators!

    I have a feeling that the presence Max had a lot to do with that. Previous record was 500.000 though, but still. He does crate a buzz, even on this website.

    Pretty incredible for a one day event (even if it’s free…)

    1. Did they count all the people living in Rotterdam as spectators?

  18. Yes, he’s going to make only big serious mistakes from now on. None of these silly ones. :)

    1. Exactly @Eugen. Mature people don’t make silly mistakes; they make clever ones.

  19. To anyone who watches the crashing video for the first time, and doesn’t have a clue about who is Max, would most certainly think: this pilot is very bad and doesn’t know how to drive a F1 car.

    But for a F1 fan, and aside that though, another would be certain: he has a long mountain to climb before getting close to Maldonado, the Crasher!

  20. I’m a huge supporter of Max however it seems to me Red Bull is trying to rush things, you can’t just put an F3 driver into an F1 car for the first time, have him do a couple of runs up and down a straight and then expect him to do well pulling donuts on a bumpy and tight street course.

    What on earth have they been smoking at Red Bull? They should have just make him do this in his F3 VAR car, and the people would have enjoyed it the same way because Ferrari and Kimi would have provided the F1 demo they came to see.

    Then again can’t blame Max, he needs every second he can get in an F1 car from now until the Australian Grand Prix 2015.

  21. So Verne, at 24 is done. Kvyat at 20, has proven to be the perfect Red Bull yes man in claiming that Max V. has earned a shot. People try to claim the Mercedes forced poor RB’s hand when, in fact, they did not offer Max V. a ride in any F1 car – RB took it upon themselves to make yet another gauche power play among the many they’ve made in F1 – just like they did in X Sports, which they now economically hold hostage.

    When you have an active 800-person staff and have the capacity to blunt, mute and/or bully media into silence about the specs of a car driven by a 4-time world champion who NEVER won a championship in the two lead up divisions to F1 and is the first modern – 1982-forward – F1 driver to hold that dubious distinction (I don’t want to hear about his hand, either), you can hire a 17-year old child to drive in any car at any level you wish. All this despite the fact that your two drivers who SHOULD be in line for a Toro seat (since Verne is perceived as no longer F1 worthy) have proven and continue to prove themselves to be better, more mature and experienced drivers than Max V.

    The wall bump is of interest because, if nothing else, it spoke to Max V.’s momentary failure to remember and recognize the the power of the car he was driving. Since then he’s sure to have learned more but to jump into the present version of F1 car, with all their quirks and with, at any moment, attention taken away from driving in 7th gear while you miss a button press? We’ve seen experienced drivers now have shunts because of that split-second lapse in concentration and sometimes in car performance. What happens to a 17-year old for whom it is, at this point, impossible to make up for the hours he has HASN”T put into driving progressively more complex beasts before stepping up to the ultimate driving challenge?

    Quite honestly, Max V. would have garnered an immeasurable amount of respect from his peers, fans, and, in the end the RB management if he respectfully declined the offer but chose to take, for instance, a GP2 seat, citing the need to “earn my stripes and continue to grow as a driver,” or something to that effect.

    Now, he just looks like a pawn in RB’s game – a game in which they are spinning the narrative to make themselves out as innocents at the mercy of “the times” and when challenged, like victims who had to make this drastic move because of that big, bad bully, Mercedes.

    All of it has a putrid smell. And unless a strong enough personality who has F1’s best interests at heart grabs the F1 helm reins, the smell will only get much worse before it gets any better.

Comments are closed.