Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Circuit de Catalunya, 2019

Red Bull expects “far more mature” Verstappen to be patient

2019 F1 season

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Red Bull’s motorsport consultant Helmut Marko says Max Verstappen has matured since his occasionally tempestuous 2018 campaign and will show more restraint this year.

Verstappen was involved in a series of on-track incidents early on in 2018. He end the year with a string of seven podiums, including one win, in nine races. However he also tangled with the lapped Esteban Ocon while leading the Brazilian Grand Prix, a collision which cost him victory, and led to him being disciplined for repeatedly shoving the Force India driver after the race.

Marko said the first evidence of Verstappen’s more mature approach was his attitude to testing. “He did already a very positive step by being enthusiastic and concentrating with his testing,” the former F1 driver told Sky.

“Before, testing was a little bit boring for him. He just saw it as a duty but now he understands it’s very, very important his input for the engineers to develop the car.”

Marko believes Verstappen will be less uncompromising in his approach and is less likely to be frustrated by the power delivery of the Honda engine than he was with last year’s Renault.

“We had some discussions and patience is one thing for sure he will show. And he also understood if he can’t win it’s important to make points, to finish races. Otherwise you won’t win the championship. And he’s mature now. He’s still very young but he’s far more mature.

“He feels happy, also with the drive-ability from the engine. We heard last year on the radio that he wasn’t so happy sometimes. All [those] things and I think he, and the team, goes with a lot of confidence into the season.”

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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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35 comments on “Red Bull expects “far more mature” Verstappen to be patient”

  1. Until those Honda’s start popping that is. I wonder how long it will be before Ol’ One Eye, Horner, and Verstappen ruin the relationship with Honda.

    1. Doubt that will be the problem, i’m Giving him until the first corner in Melbourne before he tries to barge his way past Vettel, Hamilton, Leclerc and co only to find that they’ll have none of it and the red mist will appear.

      He had a lot of free rides at the end of last year when the contenders couldn’t afford to get hit by him. Won’t be the case at the start of the season.

      1. @dbradock Good point, but I’m of the mind that the RB/Honda will not be as fast as last yrs RB/Renault. So the front runners should not have to deal with him.

        1. @johnrkh

          Unfortunately, they’ll still be quicker than the Renaults, Haas, Force India, Mclaren etc. So, they’ll still line up on the 3rd row of the grid, just behind the Mercedes and Ferrari #2 drivers.

          1. Why unfortunately?

          2. @todfod Yeah I think you are right in that, but my fingers crossed he behaves himself this yr. He does have talent, I really don’t want to see F1 turned into a smash up derby.

          3. @robbie
            I don’t know why I said unfortunately. I don’t know if it’s unfortunate that he won’t be fighting for wins… Or is it unfortunate that he won’t be mixing it up with midfield drivers and might put some front runners at risk :p

      2. @dbradock If the car were to be there, like it was at times last year, and that’s a big if, then there will be times when Max will simply get past. He doesn’t need free passes to do his thing.

        @darryn It took years for the RBR/Renault relationship to sour, so if history were to repeat itself…years!

        1. @robbie

          It soured in 2014 the year after they came off 4 doubles together

          they stuck with Renault because they had no other option

  2. Read between the lines … they can’t afford to have him complaining about Honda the way he did about Renault last year.

  3. Max is the senior RBR driver – must be the mature, diplomatic one so Gasly can be the loose cannon.

    1. They may be switching places after two or three races when Max loses it again.

  4. Yeah OK it’s easy to laugh, and yes I have been mildly critical of him in the past. But I’m willing to take Markos statement at face value and see how things go with Verstappen.

  5. Nice pr statement.

  6. he is certainly more mature now. he has a moustache.

  7. I think Max already showed a better side for the last two thirds of last season, Ocon’s win-robbing act and provoking smirk afterwards aside, so absolutely he’ll be stoked about this new chapter and it’s potential, and a fresh start. He didn’t want what happened to happen either, but all he can do is forge ahead like everyone. As he has said, if the Honda Pu is at least competitive, he won’t mind the odd blow up. I expect Max to be a mature leader in this long term project, and that the power and reliability will be at least satisfactory enough to keep frustrations minimal, as they understand methodical patience and persistence is prudent, the target being Mercedes, not just beating Renault. As long as they see half decent results and potential, and progress, and it’s hard to imagine they won’t, it’ll be all good.

    1. @robbie You obviously missed the next race where Verstappen purposely tried to provoke Ocon. But we will see how things go.

      1. @johnrkh What did Max do wrong exactly?

        1. @robbie See @matthijs post, he refers to the incident at Abu Dhabi. Then google it, there are several articles about it. In my and many others opinion he acted in an extremely immature way. Marko has said Verstappen has changed…lets see.

          1. @johnrkh No I asked you what Max did wrong, not how to research the race for myself. As far as I’m concerned, all he did was muscle his way past Ocon with slight contact, and Brundle called it ‘personal’ and off Max went. No penalty. No biggie. No big controversy. Just you reaching to make it one. Ocon tried Max on again with a little drs’ing back and forth, and lost out.

    2. @robbie
      Although I cheer for Max, I never thought he changed his style after he reached the low point in Monaco. He frequently made contact with other cars. He touched Bottas in Monza, he ran Raikkonen off the road in Suzuka and he gave Ocon a taste of his own medicine in Abu Dhabi.

      He hasn’t changed his style drastically. He was just lucky that the contacts didn’t damage his car late 2018, like unfortunately they did earlier that year.

      1. @matthijs Max never did say he was going to change his style drastically, in fact made a point to us publicly that he wouldn’t. Yet F1 insiders all seemed to agree Max got his act together after Monaco with only a few minor hiccups that would not have even gotten a mention had he not had a ragged start to the season.

        1. @robbie Haha someones in for a bit of a tough yr if Verstappen does not do as well some expect. Very high expectations on an unknown quantity. I suggested to google search as it was to enable you the get a broader view of the incident. But it seems you are happy with the narrow single mined view of a …lets say dedicated fan. So here is a bit from another site.

          Max Verstappen has admitted he took “revenge” on Esteban Ocon in Abu Dhabi.

          One race earlier, the Dutchman was sentenced to two days of FIA community service for shoving Frenchman Ocon, following their scrap in Brazil.

          ‘I liked it. It felt good’

          Verstappen lost the grand prix win because backmarker Ocon tried to overtake him, so when they were wheel-to-wheel again in Brazil, they clashed wheels.

          WATCH: ‘Mad’ Max Verstappen to perform ‘two days of public service’ for Esteban Ocon clash – FIA

          “I thought to myself ‘If he shuts the door, I’ll push him off the track’. It may have been revenge for Brazil,” Verstappen told Servus TV.

          Yes I know you think this is just ‘slight contact’ but you see, the true greats of F1 didn’t/don’t need to play bumper cars at 200 mph. They could and often did race within millimeters and never touch.
          But anyway I really do hope he can improve and use that skill, not waste it on silly machismo moves that really only impress young men of a certain age.

          1. Well said @johnrkh.

            The last sentence says it all.

          2. @johnrkh Oh I’ve had tougher F1 years than this one will likely be, lol.

            I think Max is a known quantity, and it is the Pu that is the question mark this year. The chassis should theoretically not be a weak link.

            I hadn’t seen those quotes from Max, and my first reaction was that Brundle was right…it looked personal and it was. A little nudge of the kind we have called racing incidents before, with still that very unique atmosphere between the two drivers, in other words, not an action one would expect from Max normally. Let’s recall, it was Ocon who started this whole thing rolling. Max will not be ‘enjoying’ doing the same thing to other drivers as a normal motus operandi as he proceeds in his career. That it was intentional means we can strike one contact off Max’s list of incidents where he was ragged like earlier in the year.

            True greats have truly played bumper cars at literally 200 mph. See MS, see Senna. Max was whacked by Ocon at relatively low speed, and Max whacked Ocon back the next race at even lower speed, so let’s not try painting a picture of life endangerment or anything like that, let alone that this behaviour excludes him from greatness. I acknowledge your hope for Max to improve and use his skill. Other drivers are dreading the same because they have already seen how formidable he is.

            Overall as you can probably sense, I don’t see Max’s shoving of Ocon as anything more than pretty normal human reaction amongst some highly charged youth in a sport, which is a much safer setting than something that might escalate in a bar for example. This does not indicate some pattern for Max. This was extremely unique, and running with it like it might now be Max’s new habit is silly. Ocon deserves the shoves for accelerating the situation with his smirk, and had he not done that he wouldn’t have gotten shoved, nor shoved on the track at the next race. Ocon was the guilty party from the getgo based on his mid-race penalty, so the onus was on him to be the mature person you would have Max be, and apologize rather than smirking…again…after robbing the man of a sure F1 win by shoving himself into him.

          3. @Robbie
            Yes, VER is a known quantity alright. He is a damn good driver but doubt many argue he is also arrogant, entitled, hot headed and down right dangerous at time.

            Even if Ocon was in the wrong which is questionable, one would think a driver who has been in F1 for 4 years would realize he has far more to lose than Ocon. As far as maturity goes, to confront Ocon after he had time to gain composure proves he is still very immature.

            He isn’t going to change unless he wins frequently and faces little adversity and that may happen. We shall soon find out.

    3. Cmon seriously Max has talent but he kick out his own team mates Riccardo no point really talking….. Remember Riccardo comment on the radio? ” is that who I think it is? ” ……

  8. Max is just Max. An incredibly fast racing driver that doesn’t care what others think.

    Bring it on

    1. Fast to crash himself out of a race/championship.

  9. He can be sure that whenever he seriously fight for championship, there will be other pilots who are determined to ruin his season.

  10. @robbie

    True greats have truly played bumper cars at literally 200 mph. See MS, see Senna

    I had a feeling you would bring those two up. I wasn’t including them, both drivers where the instigators of incidents that did not reflect their skill. Both drivers had a win at any cost mentality, Senna in particular did not like being passed, especially by back markers, Eddie Irvine Suzuka 93.
    Schumacher had, lets call them convenient incidents with Damon Hill 96 Adelaide GP MS won the WDC because of it. Alonso 2006 Monaco MS parked the car on the track preventing Alonso from a possible pole position. Their are others Villeneuve in Spain, Coulthard in Belgian where he was less than sportsman like.
    Getting back to Verstappen, the Abu Dhabi move was pointless, it gained him nothing and only added to his reputation of being a hot head. But it is all water under the bridge now, fresh start for 2019.

  11. His father never matured so it’s foolish to think his son will especially since, judging from the past, they obviously have the same mindset. When things are going his way, he’s fine – any hardship and he’s off the rails same as Hamilton.

    It will be interesting to see if HAM, VET and others will allow themselves to be bullied by him as in 2018 or they will put an end to his entitled attitude and fight with him tooth and nail.

    It will also be interesting to see how LeClerc starts off the season – if the Ferrari is strong and he outshines Max I expect him to revert back to his bull in a china shop attitude. If Gasly starts beating him fairly regularly, all hell will break loose.

    1. yeah, I’m looking forward to that dynamic with Max and Gas. It will either be boys own annual or flying toys.
      can’t wait.

  12. …and I expect gold watch.

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