Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Interlagos, 2018

Verstappen: You have to be ready for a title-contending car

RaceFans Round-up

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In the round-up: Max Verstappen says a Formula 1 driver has to be ready for a chance to win the championship at any stage in their career.

What they say

Verstappen used the example of Lewis Hamilton’s rookie season in 2007, when he finished one point behind that year’s champion Kimi Raikkonen.

I’ve done now almost four seasons. For example Lewis was fighting for a title in his first season: Are you ready for it, you’re not sure. Was he? Maybe yes, maybe not.

But once you have that car underneath you, you are definitely going for it because it’s normal, you are only fighting your team mate because there is always a bit of a dominance with the car.

I think it’s never 100% clear if somebody’s ready or not. As soon as you have that car you’ve just got to drive it as fast as you can and if it’s the fastest car in the grid you are normally winning races or you are second.

Quotes: Dieter Rencken

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Mattia Binotto, Gianluca Petecof, Callum Ilott, Robert Shwarzman, Giuliano Alesi, Mick Schumacher, Enzo Fittipaldi, Antonio Fuoco, Laurent Mekies, Marco Matassa
Mattia Binotto, Gianluca Petecof, Callum Ilott, Robert Shwarzman, Giuliano Alesi, Mick Schumacher, Enzo Fittipaldi, Antonio Fuoco, Laurent Mekies, Marco Matassa

Ferrari team principal Marco Matassa meets the team’s 2019 driver academy members Gianluca Petecof, Callum Ilott, Robert Shwarzman, Giuliano Alesi, Mick Schumacher and Enzo Fittipaldi, with Antonio Fuoco (who is now a consultant to the programme), Laurent Mekies and Marco Matassa

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Comment of the day

Why you shouldn’t expect live F1 coverage on YouTube any time soon:

Even if Sky didn’t have the broadcast rights in the UK you wouldn’t get the live coverage of testing on platforms like youtube because the wider broadcast contracts don’t allow for it.

While newer contracts that have been signed under Liberty have added a clause for F1TV there is nothing beyond that.

And while this is only a test since all the teams will be there & a full world feed production will be made available it fall’s under the same broadcast deals as a race weekend would.

Happy birthday!

Happy birthday to Brent Foster!

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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...

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60 comments on “Verstappen: You have to be ready for a title-contending car”

  1. The Ferrari Driver Academy photo looks like it was from Hogwarts. I guess Binotto is Dumbledore.

    1. And just like the Hogwarts JKR introduced us to, its got names with a lot of weight – Schumacher, Fittipaldi, Alesi. A magical bunch indeed.

      1. But what House will the Sorting Hat put them in? Does Slytherin await for any of them?!

    2. Does Laurent Mekies still have his FIA shirt on there ? :)

  2. I was very surprised to find that post from F1 on facebook to be real… I thought it was photoshopped but no… it’s so weird, from the email adress, to the way it’s written… and the topic… why would you openly compare yourself to another series? and who is Kirby Bradley 33?

    1. I thought it was odd when I saw it so I looked up who he was – got a few results but I think it’s this Kirby Bradley … the 33 and the field he works in is a strong argument.

      I get the feeling F1 either couldn’t afford, or couldn’t be bothered, to send one of their own crews to Indiana, so they contracted it out to an American production company.

  3. Schumacher JR looks like Valtteri Bottas in that pic.

    1. Heh, I scrolled back to check, and yes, there is that resemblance in this photo!

      Also, I wonder what Enzo Fittipaldi’s parents told him: “We’ve named you after two greats, but it’s all cool, no pressure on your shoulders.” :)

      1. Albus Severus Fittipaldi, you were named after two of the greatest Headmasters of- oh wait, wrong franchise

        1. @mrboerns – it’d be right at home a few comments above :)

      2. For his sake I hope he hasn’t inherited a Fittipaldi’s ability to build a good car and Enzo’s driving abiliy

    2. I found it telling that he’s the only one with a big personal sponsorship contract (hence the cap), even though he is the Benjamin in this academy.
      It just shows how big this is commercially, having Michael’s son back in the top of racing.

      1. @coldfly – that’s quite the eye for detail. Even if I’d noticed it, I’d have just assumed he’d put it on for no specific reason.

  4. Yeah, cowboy, totally transferable.

    1. I dunno, i think to some degree, high quality sims with high quality equipment are getting closer all the time.

      I think the biggest non-transferable factor is the fear and bravery factor.
      I can drive an F1 car up Eau Rouge without lifting in rFactor, but I’ll probably bin it 1 in 5 attempts if I don’t lift off.
      I can do that in a sim without fearing for my life!

      1. Of all the e-sport video games, racing is definitely the one that gets closer to the real thing.

        @eurobrun, another aspect is the G forces that take a toll on the body.

  5. Wow, Dieter is taking the pinching of his article quite calmly, I’d have been far more enraged in his shoes.

  6. I’d have been far more enraged in his shoes.

    You probably have bigger feet, @phylyp. Tight shoes can enrage anyone.

    But if push came to shove, plagiarism of my writing by some internet blogging consortium, would result in some serious Verstappenizing from me.

    1. You probably have bigger feet

      @jimmi-cynic – Ah, you know what they say about big feet.

    2. You probably have bigger feet, Phylyp. Tight shoes can enrage anyone.


  7. Lenny (@leonardodicappucino)
    23rd January 2019, 3:57

    I saw a bunch of people in yesterday’s Schumacher super-licence article making the argument that Mick could just get a superlicence for 2019 and then lengthen it. Whatever the possibilities of this, I don’t think he would do it or Ferrari would urge him to because, if Mick comes 8th or so in F2 this year, they probably don’t want to promote him to F1. Superlicence or not, I think Mick will need a top 5 in the championship at the very minimum (more likely a top 3) to get a 2020 F1 debut.

  8. I could watch @piersmorgan’s male condescension being smacked down by @SophiaFloersch all day long:

    I mean, Piers Morgan has made a fool of himself countless times on TV, but I don’t really see what was so condescending about that comment, or what gender has to do with it.

    1. You aren’t wrong. It was a normal comment. People are just hunting for opportunities to wave an offended flag by now I’m afraid.

      1. Who are you calling “people”? Did you just assume my species?

    2. Why bring gender into this?
      That is merely your assumption, @kingshark.

      But I agree that the ‘disdain’ wasn’t really in this clip, as much as I mostly cringe when Piers opens his mouth.

      1. @coldfly because @keithcollantine brought gender into this with his mention of “male condescension” towards a woman. Piers’ comment was normal and Floersch even mentions she was shocked to see the video the first time, so his assumption that she wouldn’t want to see it wasn’t at all unreasonable. She simply replied that it’s normal for her to see it now.

        But yeah, some people can’t help but raise that virtue-signalling flag for every trivial thing, no matter how unjustified it is.

    3. So is it condescending to ponder “I’m not sure if someone would like to see the moment this person almos died?”

    4. I’m not going to listen to the clip to determine this for myself, but Piers Morgan could make a boring comment to/about a pair of socks sound condescending against its gender. Though thanks to the ambiguities of English, a journalist with a more thoughtful tone might have spoken the same words as a nod to sparing the audience’s feelings (since some people would have not seen the crash before and been eating their breakfast when this was being broadcast).

  9. Don’t really see the condescension in the Sophia Floersch interview, much less male condescension… I mean, if I was interviewing a car crash survivor, I’d assume they didn’t want their crash replayed on national television too.

    1. I wonder if Keith thought it was “male condescension” when people asked essentially the same question of Richard Hammond when he crashed the Vampire?

      Granted, the questioner in this case was Piers Morgan, and if you automatically assume he’s a jackass, you’re usually on solid ground. :)

  10. I think Max said that at the end of last season already, so a rehashed old quote.

    So Ferrari has already changed their team principal yet again this time from Binotto to Marco Matassa.

    The COTD is so on point.

    If it’s really that transferable, then I should be able to set a fast lap in an actual F1 car as well as on PS4.

    1. At least the skills from simracing are more transferable than from other esports: you don’t play basketball with a gamepad in real life, yet you do drive a car with wheel and pedals.

  11. I think at the end of the day, the way I saw it was one of the big things that led me back was I just felt like I needed change regardless. Even if the team kills it in 2019, I don’t know if I would be convinced that I would be getting everything out of it, if that makes sense.

    I think that’s as clear as it will ever be from Ricciardo, reading between the lines.

    1. @skipgamer
      Agreed and Dan couldn’t of said it better in “they want me to be a No.2”, but he shouldn’t repeat confidential contract talks either, so good play from him here and shows the move is right. He wont be a WDC in RBR as they wont let him (And Max is looking pretty sharp too, before Max fans jump on me) so he needed a move, give two years and lets see what Lewis and Seb do.

      Also he has said before if he doesn’t like the look of the 2012 F1 regs he may look elsewhere to drive.

      It makes it a bit more surprising that Mark Webber said he should stay at RBR next year, given his own history with the team.

      1. @garns

        And Max is looking pretty sharp too, before Max fans jump on me

        Don’t bother, they’ll jump on anything that moves.

      2. @garns Pointing out the obvious, that being that Max is looking pretty sharp too, is not going to prevent a fan of Max such as myself from jumping on you, mildly. It is the insinuation that RBR wouldn’t let DR be a WDC. There is zero evidence of that. As you point out, even Webber didn’t seem threatened on DR’s behalf of some secondary treatment. All DR would have to do, just as all WDC’ers do, is beat or dominate their teammate and earn the mathematical position of being the go-to guy. What there is evidence of, as indicated by DR saying he wouldn’t get everything out of the car, is that Max would. Max has dominated DR in qualifying and therefore in laps spent ahead of him, in points, in finishing positions, in finishing ahead when they both finish etc. but until Max sorted himself after the first 5 or 6 races last year, DR was still ‘allowed’ to lead Max. So the bottom line is that it is not that RBR wouldn’t let DR win, it is that the odds of DR dominating Max in a Championship level car, seem slim. That is of course assuming Max has gotten the bulk of his raggedness out of the way, and won’t be handing things to his teammate and other competitors as much as he did at the start of last year.

        1. Sorry – I don’t even bother to read your Max comments any more.

        2. @robbie
          Thanks for just the mild jumping, I appreciate that LOL (I expected worse:)

          “It is the insinuation that RBR wouldn’t let DR be a WDC. There is zero evidence of that.”
          I disagree with this comment mate. I would say that RBR have let Dan and Max race until the end of 2018, Baku proves this point. But my premise is they wont let them race if they have a car that can win the title, to battle for a podium or occasional win is one thing but if they produce a championship winning car, that’s another.

          By all accounts (and F1 is rarely wrong in rumours isn’t it) Dietrich Mateschitz and Daniel had a chat in Austria and Red Bull agreed to same money as Max, a one year deal (that the team didn’t want) but Dietrich wouldn’t guarantee Dan the same status as Max, so Dan walked and took a bundle of money.

          Think McLaren 2007, Ron needed to make a choice, he didn’t and they lost. I can see why RBR would go for Max (drunk Uncle Marko will make sure of it) but once Dan heard this he had no option but to leave.

    2. Yeah, I don’t think he’s “bracing” for Max to be a world champion (Let’s face it: Max has a Honda engine, and Hamilton is driving like you would expect a 5-time champion with 12 years of F1 experience to drive) as much as accepting that if Red Bull has a WDC worthy car next year, it wouldn’t have been Daniel with the #1 in 2020.

      1. I think DR has accepted that Max is faster, which has been evident for a while now going back the last two or three seasons. Yet, as DR fans love to say, DR beat Max every year but last year, after the first third of the season. So I have seen no evidence that DR has been hampered in any way by the team, nor has anything he has said, or anything in his body language, including his tough last-minute decision to leave RBR, implied he would be treated like a number 2 driver.

        As I see it, if RBR/Honda were to be Championship contenders this season, which would be quite a surprise, then yes, depending on the circumstances of their points, and the degree of threat from the competition, sometimes a team has to decide on a 1 and a 2 at some point in the season. Mercedes didn’t when they dominated utterly, and let their drivers race it out on track. But they did when Ferrari’s SV became a threat. There is nothing that says RBR wouldn’t do the same. However, odds are that they won’t utterly dominate that way, and so if it came down to choosing, I think the evidence has already indicated that Max is the faster driver, and would likely be the one they would have to go to if it came down to that. Assuming they won’t be Championship contenders in this first season with the questionable Honda, I don’t think DR had any need to fear being designated a number 2, but obviously had played through the scenario of Max dominating him in quali, laps spent ahead of him, higher placings etc etc as he has been doing through 2017 and 2018, and how that would look if the car was a true contender. Ie. more of the same. DR knows that between the two of them, if it came down to it, they’d have to go with Max.

        1. @robbie – I think even if one were to argue that Max and Daniel are about even, Daniel’s move still makes sense. Because Max is so much younger, RBR would likely lean his direction as the long-term face of the team.

          The question for me is whether this turns into an Alonso move for Daniel–bouncing around teams that can’t win–or a Hamilton move. Granted I don’t think Renault is the team to get him there, but if it shows he’s willing to leave RBR for a better situation, maybe Merc/Fer will consider him next go round.

          1. @hobo Fair comment. It all just has to play out. I’m not convinced that this year the RBR/Honda will be better than last year’s RBR/’Renault’, but one thing I’m sure DR will miss will be a Newey car. As is the case for DR if he had stayed, or with him going to Renault, he can affect his own fate by smashing the competition, whoever that may be. That is how he will raise his stock and get to a better opportunity if Renault is not it. And the same can be said of all the drivers. DR must just look at this as a fresh start and a new chapter full of potential, which I’m sure he is for he is the one that opted to go this route.

          2. @robbie – Agreed. Nothing Renault (the chassis producing team) has shown in the last decade has seemed capable of getting anyone there. RBR will be 3rd best, minimum–unless the engine detonates every weekend. But I don’t think Daniel cared about being 5th or 6th, he wanted a change. Interested to see how this all plays out as well. Cheers!

          3. Verstappen and Ricciardo about even….?
            Let’s see, out of 21 races Ricciardo beat Verstappen 3 times on pace in Q3, ut of these 3 times Verstappen got in front of Ricciardo 3 times.
            In 2017 the quali battle was 13-7, out of those 7 times Ricciardo was ahead on the grid he got overtaken 4 times by Verstappen.

            Verstappen and Ricciardo are close cause there’s no competition after outside the first 6 cars, if the midfield was more competitive they would have been further apart.

          4. @Matn True but in fairness to @hobo he does say “even if one were to argue…” so he’s not actually stating they’re even, and also there is Max’s ragged behaviour at times. You’re talking about his pace, which is unquestionable as we all witnessed, but we have seen him throw points away too, and we need to see that behaviour greatly diminished, which I’m confident we have seen for the most part after Monaco last year. I’d be surprised if Max went back in to that mode given that he has shown himself what can happen once he cools his jets a bit and makes better decisions. He beat one Mercedes and nearly beat one Ferrari. Your point is taken. My goodness, the things he will do once he has a WCC car…

          5. Matn – No one said that Max and Dan were the same. I specifically avoided saying that because some people cannot fathom comparisons that they don’t agree with. Example, go to talk to someone about Rosberg and Hamilton; good luck.

            What I said was that, “even if one were to argue that Max and Daniel are about even…” See those symbols? That indicates a quote, or a direct copy of something previously said or written. I said that above. The “even if” part is key here, as that sets up a hypothetical situation. And a hypothetical situation is one that is “supposed but not necessarily real or true.”

            @Robbie stated above that Daniel had accepted that Max was faster and that was at least part of the reason why Daniel left RBR. I would argue that may or may not be the case (that Daniel has accepted that, or even that Max is faster), but that was not the point. Robbie set that up as how he (Robbie) saw the situation. I was arguing that even if (again, not necessarily the case but we are agreeing to it for the sake of discussion) Max and Dan were even, that Dan’s move still made sense. I then provided reasons.

            So, I get that you are either a rabid Max fan, or you love quoting stats (stats are fun), but chill out. No one was taking shots at Max–the punk kid who can’t keep his cool.

          6. That last sentence is what taking shots at Max looks like.

            And thanks @robbie – appreciate the discussion today. I hope Max has settled down as well. Would like to see him mixing it up at the front this year and cause Merc/Fer some stress.

          7. @hobo Good stuff. I’m sure millions upon millions are poised to see just what Honda will bring, but as crucially what the RBR/Honda marriage will bring, as well as to see what Renault can do, especially what DR will do there. Another interesting storyline will be to see if Stroll is better than he has been able to show. Leclerc at Ferrari. Gasly at RBR. Kvyat back. Kubica. All that plus what might change due to the new front wings and whatever tweeks have had to occur rearwards of those new wings. Can’t wait. We should end up with a much better picture of what 2021 will look like, by June of this year. Never a dull moment in F1.

          8. I truly understand the hypothesis, though the general perspective is that Ver and Ric are close…wich they are for the sole reason that there is no competition behind RBR.
            While there is a lot of focus on Max’ mistakes the general perspective is Ricciardo being a much more consistant driver and Verstappen ‘wasted’ many points, the truth of matter though is that Ricciardo made about as many mistakes (red flag penalty, Baku crash, Spain crash + 2 spins in Spain).

            Max may have wasted points for being to eager to some points, on the other hand he comfortably outscored and outraced his team mate merele thanks to his balls-out approach, maybe Ricciardo takes it to easy in races…?

            Dan’s change of team sure makes sense, though I am pretty confident if he would have beaten Verstappen in both quali and races comfortably he wouldn’t have jumped ship. From a competitive point of view he bailed out, wich is a shame.

          9. Matn – I agree it is a shame that he left, but only from the view of an RBR intrateam battle. For me, it is a shame Rosberg left as it would have been interesting to see an intrateam Merc battle as well as the interteam battle with Ferrari and somewhat RBR over the past two seasons. So, I agree.

            But I would disagree with the idea that he “bailed out.” Because if Dan’s goal is to have a shot at the title, and if he thinks that he needs to be on Merc or Ferrari to do that (which, to me, is perfectly reasonable), then he doesn’t need to be at RBR to get to those teams. As long as he proves he can drive, the other teams will see that.

            To your points, Max did get the better of him this year. But it would have been more interesting to see the results for 2017 and 2018 if there hadn’t been so many DNFs. Over the last two seasons, they both finished the race less than half the time. So maybe Max would have blown him out of the water, or maybe Dan would have had far more points. The problem is that with so, so many DNFs, it is very difficult to know guess what would have happened.

            At the end of it all, Dan is a good driver and a good person and I see no reason to drag him for leaving as he is not a bad driver. Nor is he underperforming the car like Bottas, imo. Max may be great, but he’s not there yet, again imo.

  12. I get quite offended by Piers Morgan’s use of oxygen….

    1. Does seem to be a bit of a waste, doesn’t it?

  13. Why are all the Ferrari juniors dressed identically in those awful cardigans? Did Ferrari run out of team wear? I’d be shocked if Ferrari don’t throw their weight behind Schumacher. Sucks to be the other guys.

    Weird comment from Ricciardo. Personally if I was him and Verstappen/Red Bull-Honda bounce to the title next year I’d be kicking myself. If however he’s insinuating that he doesn’t think he’d be given as much support as Verstappen and be pushed into a no.2 role… well, I think he needs to elaborate on that. Still think moving to Renault wasn’t a smart choice, but we’ll see.

    Still eternally confused why Piers Morgan gets work. Why does anyone listen to anything that thing says?

    1. Did Ferrari run out of team wear?

      @rocketpanda – the shoes, man, the shoes! :)

    2. @rocketpanda Since there has been no evidence that RBR has held DR back, I can only assume that what DR means is that he wouldn’t be getting everything out of the car because it is Max that would likely do that, between the two of them. So in that sense I don’t think DR needs to elaborate, because I don’t think he is implying he’d be designated a number 2 driver. I’m not saying that would be an impossibility, if DR had stayed, but that would only be if RBR/Honda were legitimately a title contender throughout the season, and if Max was looking to be the go-to guy based on their points and those of their nearest threats to the title. That’s just normal F1. It happened last year for LH. And when you aren’t vying for the title(s) there is no point designating a 1 and 2 when the math only dictates that as a pair you both need to be advancing the car as much as possible, for it is lagging behind.

      The main theme from DR seems to be he wanted the change, as he says in these recent quotes, and just as he has said since his decision to leave, which apparently was very last minute, as Horner and Max seemed absolutely convinced he was going to stay with them. If DR was so doubtful of his status on the team, how would it have come to the point where RBR were convinced he was going to stay? You’d think there would have been signs of DR being disgruntled, and that it would never have gotten to the point where two days before DR’s decision RBR were convinced he was staying.

    3. @rocketpanda Ferrari has a heirarchy of clothing. The snazzy blazers only seem to be given to their F1 drivers, and team-logoed gear is for “senior” people such as consultants only. Junior drivers who aren’t yet F1-grade have to make do with lesser outfits. (Though I’ve certainly seen worse garments worn as team kit).

  14. FYI on the tweet about the fullscreen not working on F1TV..

    It’s not an issue with F1TV, It’s an issue with a recent update to the google chrome browser which has broke the fullscreen button on a number of streaming sites.

    Using other browsers such as opera, firefox etc.. the fullscreen button on these sites still works as it should so using another browser is currently the only way to fix it while waiting for google to put out a new update/fix on chrome.

    1. Another temporary fix is to right click on the video & click the ‘show controls’ option & once that option is ticked you can double click on the video which takes it fullscreen.

  15. Meyer Shank going for 10 races this year … wow the Indycar grid for most races is going to be HUGE. And all going for “top 10 finishes”, it’s going to be crazy competitive.

    I wonder if they’ll have to introduce bumping / pre-qualifying on some tracks outside Indy?

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