Max Verstappen, Monza, football match, 2016

Verstappen: F1 can’t produce Champions League-style shocks

2019 F1 season

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Max Verstappen doubts Formula 1 can produce the kind of shock results seen in the last two rounds of the Champions League European football tournament.

The Red Bull driver said he followed the progress of the semi-finals stage of the tournament, which saw Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool come from three goals down to secure places in the final.

Verstappen said he was supporting Dutch club Ajax, who were knocked out by Tottenham yesterday. “I was having dinner and I was just following it on my phone,” he said. “I thought OK, that’s in the pocket.

“The final few seconds was a bit dramatic, between Ajax and Tottenham. The other one I was flying but when I landed I saw the result.”

“I’m a PSV fan but still I would have liked Ajax to win,” he explained. “I mean, I’m not crying, like some of my friends.

“Some of my friends were very emotional after the game. One didn’t respond for an hour when I said to him ‘bad luck’. He came back to me and said he was not feeling too well, I’m not that devastated but it would have been great for Ajax to be in the final.”

Asked whether an F1 race could produce that kind of drama, Verstappen said: “You can’t.

“It’s basically like being three laps down and suddenly the guy wins the race. It’s just a different sport, different things can happen, the emotion as well. It’s like one that game is decisive for the rest of the championship. It’s different: We are doing 21 rounds.”

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Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
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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  • 40 comments on “Verstappen: F1 can’t produce Champions League-style shocks”

    1. I’m trying to think of the last time there was something equivalent to the football event max mentions within F1, definitely when Hamilton won his first championship in Brazil 2008. Err.. can’t think of anything since then.

      1. Jenson Button, Canada 2011?

        1. Brazil 2012 was also an exciting finale. Granted, not quite the level of 2008.

          1. Dutchguy (@justarandomdutchguy)
            9th May 2019, 21:44

            Brazil 2012 was nuts. Hulkenberg was fighting with the McLarens up front, Kobayashi was tangling with the big guys whilst Vettel was battling back from the rear with a limping cat

      2. Leclerc leading in Bahrain? Vettel leading in Germany? Those were also dramatic losses from the lead.

        1. @f1mre
          I don’t think he’s talking about the dramatic losses, but that he’s talking about the unbelievable, against all the odds, wins. (The guy who’s 3 laps down but still manages to win, as he says.)
          Button come to mind in 2011, Panis in Monaco and oddly enough himself in Spain.

          1. Mauro (@mauromori)
            9th May 2019, 18:23

            Great memory, Panis in Monaco.

          2. ColdFly (@)
            10th May 2019, 0:38

            And Toro Rosso Vettel in Monza.

    2. DAllein (@)
      9th May 2019, 16:40

      Ok, let’s then compare F1 to Boxing.
      1 match – and you are champion. This also can’t happen in F1…

      And I don’t really agree about Drama – F1 has plenty of it.

      1. Bwhahahahaha…where? Merc wins almost every race. Where is the drama when the race is decided turn 1 of lap 1?

        1. @jblank F1 has its own drama series. The one in which Toto Wolff is always sure that ferrari is the fastest and then on sunday his underdog Mercedes Team wins.

          1. LOL, good point.

        2. Because for some people F1 isn’t just about who wins. There’s a lot more to it. That’s why ALL the teams battle EVERY race, and don’t just take each other on one-on-one like football.

          1. Oh come on! That’s just marketing spin and fluff. There’s NOBODY that follows a sport and thinks, “Wow, I can’t wait to see the battle for 8th place.” Give me a break! People want competition, they want unpredictability, they DO NOT want the same driver winning the championship every year, OR the same team winning every race. That becomes as boring as watching grass grow.

            1. ColdFly (@)
              10th May 2019, 0:42

              I DO enjoy the battles further down the field; it is an exciting part of F1, @jblank.
              My DoTW vote goes more often to a midfield contender punching above his weight, rather than the race winner in a dominant car.

            2. @coldfly I never said battles were a bad thing, what I said was that NOBODY watches a sport and is excited to see who gets 8th, or who finishes with the most rebounds in basketball or who finishes the baseball season in the middle of the pack. What people want, as I said, is unpredictability, is competition, they don’t want the same results.

              If you went to the movie every Friday night and you saw four different movies but all of them basically began and ended the same way, would that excite you? Sure the middle may be different, but the beginning and end, after a while, start getting very predictable. That’s not fun! The fact that Liberty and even the drivers, are telling us the racing is boring, is only reinforcing what people like me have said for a couple of years now. The product must improve, the unpredictability needs to return, and there needs to be more parity between the teams. As it stands now, on any given weekend, there is probably a 75-80 percent chance a Mercedes gets a pole and a win and leads all or most of all of the race. Do you think that is going to grow the sport and retain viewers? Why should mega talented drivers like Norris or Russell have to hope they can get to Team Red or Team Grey to have a chance at a title?

            3. ColdFly (@)
              10th May 2019, 1:33

              @jblank, I responded to your ‘marketing spin and fluff’ response to @selbbin‘s comment that ‘for some people F1 isn’t just about who wins’ (I agree with him).
              You seem to be just focussing on who wins.

              And your movie analogy is a good one. All (Holywood) movies have essentially the same overall storyline, but the acting and/or cinematography makes one movie immensely better than the next. A bit like F1 ;)

            4. They don’t have the same overall storyline, that’s just not accurate. What I am focusing on, ultimately, is the “show”…the package….the product. It’s clear, if you look at what I’m saying, that it’s the lack of unpredictability, which is ultimately harming the product and certainly, who wins is a giant component of that. I can’t imagine watching any sport and not caring about who wins.

            5. Who are you to speak for everyone?

              I’m a passionate McLaren fan. I get my thrills from watching them fight for points and Q3. I’m not overly interested in who wins at the moment, but I do support Hamilton because of his racing heritage. The battle for the win has never dominated my interest in the sport unless it was McLaren in the mix. It’s good to watch, but I don’t care as much as the McLaren results.

    3. Kind of disagree, motor racing can produce incredible heart in the mouth stuff, especially in the dying moments of a race, last lap failures in certain wins, last corner battles. Just because F1 hasn’t really had much competition in a while doesn’t mean it can’t or shouldn’t have championships that go down to the wire with shocking results.

    4. There are so much more chances in football to have a dramatic match as there are much more matches than F1 races a season.

      1. ColdFly (@)
        10th May 2019, 0:44

        Nothing as exciting as tennis. Even when facing a match point against you can still win.

        1. @coldfly @f1mre

          Dramatic moments exist in all sports. The quality of such moments and their frequency is incomparable. Simply because the ‘drama’ in a certain sport is defined by the respective stakeholders themselves.
          Winning after 6 pit stops is dramatic, so is winning a five setter after being 3 match points down in the third set, and so is winning a test match after being asked to follow-on, etc.
          Comparing these individually brilliant moments to each other would be moot and as Verstappen points out, it is extremely subjective– he compares being 3 goals down to being 3 laps down. Not many may agree with that.
          Drama is how the viewer/fan perceives it.

    5. GtisBetter (@)
      9th May 2019, 16:53

      Not F1, But le mans certainly can. Just ask Toyota.

    6. I definitely watch a sport where all drivers raced on identical machinery and the person with least points in the championship at the end of each race (points given from first to last) is booted out of the championship.
      Then the battles down the field, to try and stay in the championship would be just as exciting as the battle for 1st.

      That sport wouldn’t be called F1.

      Soccer can’t claim to have the most exciting format either but occasionally it produces a wopper like the champions league semis. Isn’t that part of the buzz of sport though, this weekend’s Spanish GP will likely be a processional snoozefest, but I’m holding out hope that it’ll be a cracker with Leclerc, Hamilton and Verstappen battling it out at the front :)

      1. ColdFly (@)
        10th May 2019, 0:46

        Would be good if football could mimic F1.
        Put 10 teams on the pitch and check after 90minutes who scored the most goals.

    7. Mauro (@mauromori)
      9th May 2019, 18:21

      Tottenhan was considered the underdog in this match, so if he is talking about someone considered an underdog winning a race, he is right.
      It is quite unlikely, unless it is Monaco where the driving skills comes more pronounced, and a car other than ferrari or mercedes car get the pole. Like when Ricciardo got 2 poles, and 1 victory was lost, Jarno Trulli victory in 2004 (Trulli in my opinion was one of the best of his generation, but never had a championship contender car to prove otherwise like Chris Amon)
      Another possibility it is if it rains. The rain separates boys from man. hahahahah . See senna 1984 in Monaco, the 2 Senna’s victories in 1985, the beautiful 1993 European GP (what a beauty), 2008

      1. Mauro (@mauromori)
        9th May 2019, 18:23

        ….Monza GP won by Vettel.

        1. Sadly, those Vettel winning in a Toro Rosso, Maldonado in a Williams days are WAY too infrequent. The sport has got to have more parity and more driver being the deciding factor, than car. There’s no drama when the race is won in turn 1 of lap 1.

    8. Duncan Snowden
      9th May 2019, 19:20

      To be fair, I read an article recently about statistical analysis by the betting industry which showed that no sport is as unpredictable as soccer. (I wish I had a link.) But Max has a point: F1 could use more upsets than it actually provides.

    9. Robert McKay
      9th May 2019, 19:57

      Nowadays a shock of this level would be a non-Mercedes, non-Ferrari, non-Red Bull race winner, forgetting all the stuff about 3 laps down – it’d be a shock nowadays if one of the other teams won a race.

      It’d be even more of a shock if they did it on merit, rather than just a wet race or an accident wiping out most of the big 6 cars.

      1. John Toad (@)
        10th May 2019, 14:29

        Probably more equivalent to a podium without a Mercedes, Ferrari or Red Bull driver on it.

    10. petebaldwin (@)
      9th May 2019, 20:00

      You can’t really compare the two. If football was like F1, the rich teams would be shooting into larger goals, they’d have twice as many players on the pitch and they’d always be playing downhill with the wind behind them.

      Any football team can beat any other if the 11 on the pitch play well enough. Put Hamilton in a Williams and have him drive his best ever race and he wouldn’t finish in the points.

      1. Considering people complain about only 2 teams in F1 being able to win, each football game only has 2 teams being able to win. That said, rarely do the small teams beat the giants, and when they do it’s newsworthy around the world. You know, kind of like when Toro Rosso won….

    11. Dutchguy (@justarandomdutchguy)
      9th May 2019, 21:46

      Verstappen is mostly right, but I think that with a tiny bot of extra carnage in Baku than what we had in 2017 and 2018 or with a rained out race, a la Canada 2011, Brazil 2003 or Monaco 1996, there’ll be a small chance of a big surprise.

      otherwise, not so much

    12. Well, considering so many people even just here can cite examples of where this kind of underdog victory did happen he’s clearly wrong. My example would be Vettel’s first championship after not having led the entire year and all the favorites having a shocking last race resulting in an unlikely champion emerging from the pack. Tottenham managed to win because they were in the semi’s. Vettel managed to win because he was in striking distance, but it was unlikely.

      1. And look just how far back you have to go to get your example. That is the entire point!!!!

        1. No, the point is that it ‘can’t happen.’ So considering that it HAS happened, multiple times in multiple ways, the point is invalid.

          1. That’s garbage. The way it’s structured, right now, there’s no way Toro Rosso is going to win again, short of impossible calamities that will never take place. You’re delusional.

    13. Firstly, let me just say I think he’s plain wrong (and I doubt he’d have said it if Ajax had won). Secondly, I think comparing different sports is rarely productive. Thirdly, I think if you want to make F1 like football then Max would be driving at the same circuit half of the time, traveling to other circuits in that country, and only occasionally taking on international drivers at their circuits in a bid to make that year’s final at a “randomly” chosen venue in Europe. Oh, and every two years he’d get to go to a tournament with other Dutch drivers to a “randomly” chosen country either in Europe or globally and compete against other national teams in a knockout format. Equipment would be provided by third parties and purchased by the teams, who own the circuits where they are based.

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