Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Monza, 2020

Verstappen derides “stupid” suggestion he might lose motivation

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In the round-up: Max Verstappen dismissed suggestions the difficulty of beating Mercedes might sap his motivation.

What they say

Verstappen was asked how he remains motivated knowing how hard it is to beat Mercedes:

I don’t understand what people think you wouldn’t be motivated. You have one of the best jobs in the world. You’re driving super fast cars. And I’m driving third or second. And I had one win. So I find it incredible that people think you wouldn’t be motivated. It’s really stupid.

I love what I’m doing. Every weekend I come here and I love driving the car and I want to, of course, try to challenge them. But if it’s not possible, I settle for the best result possible in the car I have and then I’m still enjoying it.

Quotes: Dieter Rencken

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Comment of the day

We’re witnessing the end of an era this weekend, in what will be the final race for Williams under the stewardship of the family who founded the team:

I hope the Williams and Claire particularly find some happiness in their next endeavour. It seemed to me the last years took a toll on her.

It’s sad to see the Williams leave but McLaren survived Bruce’s departure and two major buyouts so hopefully Williams the name will stay on strong.

Happy birthday!

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On this day in F1

  • 60 years ago today Phil Hill scored his first F1 victory, leading a Ferrari one-two-three at Monza, in a race several teams boycotted as they felt the banked circuit was too dangerous to use.

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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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36 comments on “Verstappen derides “stupid” suggestion he might lose motivation”

  1. Mr.Marko, you will be hugely disappointed.
    You will see. Just wait till the end of Qualifying. And Race

  2. If the ban on qualifying mode doesn’t work well they introduce the safety car periodically to close down the field.
    Short of banning Mercedes from using fuel I pretty much doubt there are to many options left for the FIA to introduce.

    1. I really doubt they are looking for more things, like they have a list, or some big conspiratorial agenda. The big change will be in 2022. But this change was necessary, and is happening as soon as it possibly could have, thanks to Liberty and Brawn, and would have happened whether it was designed to unsettle Mercedes, or even if there was not a current long-run dominant team.

      As a big fan of the new regs and the team that orchestrated it all, to which the teams have all now signed off on and are committed, I like many don’t want to see erosion of room for innovation, but I am moreso convinced there is simply no other way for now, as they must control costs, full stop, or it ends.

      I look forward to the day when a thriving and enthralling series grows and gets healthier and richer than ever such that they see ways to expand the scope for innovation. So while I’m not entirely comfortable with the mode ban, I’m more ok with something that is more driver vs driver than party button vs party button. Same with the overall new philosophy for F1. More balanced, less excessive, closer racing is the trade off to unsustainable extras, so there is a big positive to me in aiming a bit more back to basics. An engine, 4 wheels, and a steering wheel and some brakes used to get cars around the track and make for the massively rich history of racing. I’m happier knowing when the driver vs driver duel I’m watching is apples to apples. Or when a season comes down to the last race. As much as possible, rather than rarely.

      1. @robbie)

        But this change was necessary

        No it wasn’t it could and should have been done at the start of the 2021 season if it needed to be done at all.

        but I am moreso convinced there is simply no other way for now, as they must control costs, full stop, or it ends.

        That’s what the cost cap is for, innovation is totally different.

        so there is a big positive to me in aiming a bit more back to basics. An engine, 4 wheels, and a steering wheel and some brakes used to get cars around the track and make for the massively rich history of racing.

        We already have a classic racing category.
        You want an ‘equal’ racing series? Go to a one make series with success ballast. But that’s not F1 never ever has been. There has always been a dominant team or two always been stragglers. It’s a competition to see who is the best manufacturer the best driver. Not who can whinge and complain the loudest, those that fail leave simple.

        1. @johnrkh

          You want an ‘equal’ racing series? Go to a one make series with success ballast. But that’s not F1 never ever has been. There has always been a dominant team or two always been stragglers. It’s a competition to see who is the best manufacturer the best driver.

          Never to this extent.

          Mercedes are going to win both titles for the 7th consecutive season. This is by far the most dominant team in history and it makes even the success of the early 2000s Ferrari team look underwhelming by comparison.

          1. @kingshark I’m not arguing that but I do not agree with punishing success. Make allowances for the lessor teams to catch up like more testing actual as well as simulator or being given a more tokens for upgrades.

            Would people except Manchester United or Liverpool being handicapped because Chelsea complained they couldn’t beat them? Should Usain Bolt or Mark Spitz have been handicapped because they dominated their events at the Olympics…no! So why is F1 penalizing success, their is no suggestion of cheating or unfair advantages just a very well run team with a very good driver.

            I apologise for the rant :)

          2. @johnrkh
            Punishing success was common in the past. It happened with Ferrari in 2005 and with Red Bull in 2014.

            Formula 1 is a very Anglo-centric sport. I can’t help but feel that if it was a German driver who benefited from Mercedes dominance, the media would apply a lot more pressure on the FIA to change things.

          3. Part of the reason why Mercedes were so dominant early in the hybrid era is because of the Token system. It was designed so those that won races got more ability to change things than those that didn’t. I believe the principal reason for it was to give Ferrari an advantage over every other team, and that Mercedes were the surprise benefactors of this system.
            The simple fact is the Mercedes car is an excellent car, so whether it has a Mercedes engine inside of some other engine it will still perform very well.

          4. @kingshark the changes to the tyres in 2005 weren’t really meant to “punish Ferrari” though. It might have had that effect, but it was basically an accident caused by the postponement of the introduction of the V8 engines by a year.

            The FIA wanted to slow the cars down at the time due to concerns about them outstripping the safety measures they could fit at the circuits and built into the cars – hence the cut in power with the V8 engines being introduced – but, since those engines weren’t going to be ready until 2006, they needed to find an alternative measure to slow the cars down in 2005.

            The “one tyre per race” rule, thus cutting mechanical grip, was the measure the FIA came up with as a fudged measure. People have retrospectively assumed it was to “punish success” because it hurt Ferrari, but nobody was expecting that before the change occurred – it was a side effect of a rule that was basically rushed in to solve a different issue.

        2. While sportingly it does bother me that fia are trying to implement changes to specifically slow down mercedes on the other hand I welcome it. After all it is about making f1 better to watch because the gap between f1.5 and merc will be smaller. It needs to be smaller. But I have a very fundamental issue when these performance focused rule changes are done during the season. I think fia should be a lot harsher and obvious between season trying to take away merc’s benefits. And could have been doing it better for many years. The same should go for any winning team.

          The way I see it for a team designing and having a winning part or tech (that nobody else has) comes with a natural risk of losing it after the season. And the risk of it not working (see lotus side exhausts). If a team can invent a great new technical thing that gives them an advantage then let them race it for that one season. Be that flexy wings, qualifying mode, f-duct, skirts whatever. That gives the teams the incentive to push for new tech knowing they get the benefits but after the season they lose it to avoid having a situation where everybody has to do it. But the only reason to do it during the season should be safety.

          At least to me that sounds very fair. But it has the issue that it is somewhat speculative and somewhat perspective. When has a team gotten enough use out of their tech they created? How do you measure that. You don’t. And if you are going to do a change during a season how do you justify it? Merc has had engine qualifying advantage since 2014. Why is it not now during 2020 season that it becomes such an issue that it needs to change?

          Other issue for me is that doing this propagates the myth of magical part that makes the car quicker. In the past there were these magical parts because the teams could not spend hundreds of millions of going through every possibility dreamed up by hundreds of engineers. They had handful of people and their imagination so they missed a lot of these magical things. Or did not have the tech to make them. But nowadays everybody finds these magical parts. What makes merc a winner is the development to nth degree of every part of their car. So for fia to ban individual parts of tech will never make a big difference anyways. What they need is something that looks at the winning car as a whole and makes little changes to the rules that take away some of the benefit. And not make the changes during the season but after it. While informing everybody beforehand. That way it is not just fair but it works. Even the winning team can make a new car for the new season to suit to the new rules. And if they still win they have once again done better job.

      2. @robbie why should we be pleased at seeing a knee-jerk reaction by Brawn and Liberty Media to rush in changes which will have unforeseen consequences?

        Are you not concerned that such rushed in moves is a sign of weak governance and haphazard planning? That this move smacks of the sort of blatant manipulation of the championship battle that had so many crying foul in 2006, with the mass damper ban, or in 2003 with the Michelin tyre changes?

        Barely two years ago, Ross Brawn and Liberty Media pledged that they would discourage short term knee jerk reactionary rule changes – this change is exactly the sort of behaviour which they claimed they would be phasing out. Does it not concern you that, for all the outward protestations that things will be different, Brawn and Liberty Media are snapping straight back into the very sort of behaviour which they had promised they would eliminate?

        1. @johnrkh and anon. My point is, given that they are about to make huge and necessary rules changes anyway, and given the whole philosophy of those changes, this modes rule change which many seem to think won’t do much or may even help Mercedes, is small potatoes in the grand scheme of things. Sure it’s a bit knee jerk, but it’s pretty wee, and it’s happened now because it took for the season to get under way for them to see how extreme the modes have gotten. It’s not a weakness in governance but rather a show of strength in conviction towards the goal of keeping in check the excesses of the type that have seen F1 get to the point of needing the wholesale changes that are around the corner. And the teams are all on board with the entirely new direction, and I don’t see any team as outraged at the modes ban rule as some folks such as yourselves are in your armchairs. LH is ‘amused’ by it.

          No, given the massive amount of work Liberty and Brawn have done to right the ship with the huge changes that will change the face of F1 for the good, and that the teams want too, I’m not phased by this modes change one bit, other than yeah I agree it’s mid-season which is generally not the ideal time, except when they had to see an extreme thing happening once the season has gotten under way.

          And no I have no paranoia that this is some sign of more knee jerk changes to come when they said they weren’t wanting to do that to the teams ala the BE era. This is costing the teams barely a blip of time and resources to adapt to, as per the general philosophy going forward…to simplify and keep costs and excesses down.

          1. @robbie

            and I don’t see any team as outraged at the modes ban rule as some folks such as yourselves are in your armchairs. LH is ‘amused’ by it.

            post from the 26th of August.

            I can see this is going to end up an anti-climax. Most likely Merc will just even out the power delivery which will still leave them with the most powerful PU and as well proven the most reliable. With all of the PU manufacturers being able to work around the ban probably in a similar way but not being able to match the current Merc, overall change…zero.

            It’s not the effect if any robbie it’s the heavy handed method being used. No one has yet spoken out about it publicly but as I’m sure you have seen not all issues are handled in the eyes of the public.

          2. @robbie I do not see it as “a show of strength in conviction” from Brawn and Liberty if they are prepared to go back on their word on a fundamental tenet of how the sport was meant to be governed in the future. Even you admit “it’s a bit knee jerk” in your response and are instead trying to justify it on the grounds that it’s “just a minor knee jerk reaction”.

            What happened to Liberty’s claims that they would make decisions carefully and with the consultation of the team? You claim that “the teams are all on board with the entirely new direction”, but the mechanism that the FIA has used to introduce these changes, which is via Technical Directives, means that the FIA can introduce the changes irrespective of what the teams want because there is no mechanism for the teams to protest a Technical Directive – it’s effectively a rule change that circumvents the normal mechanisms used to introduce a change in the sporting or technical regulations.

            The principals here are to do with both future governance and with trust in Liberty Media and in Brawn. If they are prepared to go back on their word in short order and are resorting to means to manipulating the competition that they claimed they were phasing out, why should you, I or any other person place trust in them with regards to the future management of the sport when they have shown that sort of dishonesty?

          3. @johnrkh Yeah I just can’t buy into the ‘heavy handed’ rhetoric. Nothing has stopped teams or principals from speaking out publicly before. If they were that bent out of shape about this we’d know. It’s small potatoes is why we haven’t heard outrage and protest. It’s been more akin to acceptance than resistance.

          4. @anon Because it is you that is creating this picture of distrust or dishonesty which I don’t think exists between Liberty/Brawn and the teams in reality. They didn’t even introduce the ban as quickly as they were originally going to, after consulting with the teams and discovering they needed a bit more time to adapt.

            I do get your point, but I just don’t get the vibe that this is the issue you should hang your hat on wrt knee-jerk stuff, or distrust, or dishonesty. I think that if teams were as outraged as you are then we would have heard much more from them that would have had much more of a tone of real protest or disillusionment.

            Oh I’m not trying to claim it is all flowers and kittens between FIA and Liberty/Brawn and the teams, and with things like Ferrari’s secret deal yeah there is some level of distrust in the ether, like there always has been and always will. But overwhelmingly I believe things are going to be much more fair and balanced and healthy than under BE, but it will never be perfect. And based on what I see as the potential for a very good future, I’m not going to assume this is just the beginning of some trend of dishonest, untrustworthy knee-jerk moves. I’ll have to see those to believe them. Under BE it was the norm. These guys have had but a minute to really put their twist on the plot, which really only starts showing itself with the revolutionary overhaul starting in 2022.

            Let’s see the teams working with the new regs. Let’s see how well F1 has closed off loopholes. Let’s see what loopholes the poor innocent honest trustworthy teams will find to game the system;)

      3. @robbie You say that banning engine modes is necessary in order to cut costs, but I haven’t once seen any mention of costs by the FIA or anyone else on this issue. Did I miss something? I thought the justification was that they were finding it increasingly difficult to monitor and police how the teams were using the power units, and had to simplify them down to one power mode in order to know for sure how they were operating. I don’t know how much truth there is in that, but it’s a separate issue than costs.

        1. @keithedin No I’m saying the wholesale changes were necessary to cut costs and balance things out better amongst the teams, so this modes rule change is a bit of an extension of the general philosophy of keeping in check the excesses, and there doesn’t seem to be as much outrage about it within F1 as there is on this page. I’m not tying this modes change into cost savings, just into the fact that there are massive changes around the corner anyway that are much about reducing excesses. F1 didn’t use to need the teams having banks of engineers in satellite locations playing with modes ad infinitum. Things have gotten to that because the big teams had the power and were not prevented from such runaway excesses under BE of the type that have lead to the necessary massive changes that would have been happening next year but for the pandemic.

  3. I suspect that Max might become quite rapidly demotivated if the in season and very blatant attempt to handicap Mercedes fails to improve RBR’s position.

    Let’s be brutally honest – Max has one and one only ambition (as he should) and that’s to become a WDC. If RBR can’t deliver a car that will do that for him, his motivation may not decrease, but his motivation to remain at RBR sure will.

    To have the FIA step in mid season and introduce a ban on qualifying modes when they have been in place since the commencement of the hybrid era smacks of an overt attempt at handicapping and is a very slippery slope.

    What will they do next – penalise the front row a couple of grid slots because they drove too fast?

    1. By that reasoning there is only one motivated driver in F1, and he’s bored.

    2. It seemed a sincere comment by Max as a response to similar comments to yours, @dbradock.

    3. Why would he become bored or demotivated though @dbradock? He knows he’s in the fastest car that is not a Mercedes. And he knows they have what it takes to get up there (although most likely not before 2022). He’s shining with good drives, having a go at splitting the Mercedes, making their jobs harder and even managed to get a win. That all must feel quite rewarding.

      Now, if you were say a Leclerc in a Ferrari, the closes car to the Mercedes last year, and now fighting to get into Q2 at times, having to settle for a points score as a solid result, and with not too much scope to improve either this or next year, THAT might be demotivating.

      But not while you are the on who gets lauded for being the only one to be able to trouble the Mercedes cars.

      1. @bascb I still think he’ll lose a bit of motivation if the Merc handicap doesn’t give them more wins. It’ll mean that his aim of being WDC will be scuppered until at least 2022 and there’s no guarantee, in fact recent history suggests the opposite, that RBR will excel in 2022 with the new regs. I’m not saying he wont still be motivated to win, he’ll just be motivated to win with someone else.

        You only have to look at Vettel and Ricciardo. I’m sure both were super motivated but after it becomes apparent for long enough that RBR weren’t going to present a good enough car (or car and PU combination) they needed to look elsewhere to regain their motivation and enthusiasm.

        1. he’ll just be motivated to win with someone else.

          Yes @dbradock, I am sure that if Mercedes come Knocking Max will be motivated to grab that opportunity immediately. But realistically, the Red Bull does seem to be the best place to be if not at Mercedes, doesn’t it.

          As for both Vettel and Ricciardo, I am sure both of them felt they needed a change and found new motivation to fight for wins with their new teams. However, both of them would also be telling themselves that in part because they were losing to someone in their own team (Vettel to ricciardo and Ricciardo to Max), something I don’t see happening for Max in the forseeable future.

          And it also nicely shows how those ambitions got realised – or rather not – in the teams they chose. That would rather be a warning to Max NOT to change. Vettel got into a car and team that never got on top of their procedures, their strategy nor really got a grip on their car. And apart from building an engine that exploited something that probably wasn’t legal (and had to change to the lump they have now as a consequence), they never were in a real position to get a championsip.

          Ricciardo – well, winning doesn’t seem to be closer to Renault than it was for RBR does it. And just when it looks like the team might at least become a podium contender at some tracks, he’s on his way to another team who is still at best snapping at the lowest podium spots on a good weekend.

          Neither of those seem like a great path to follow when you are in a team that clearly does know how to do things right. And are pretty consistently the ones to grab an opportunity when Mercedes falter. And are fully behind supporting Max.

          1. Red Bull “may” be second best at the moment but to be honest I’m not convinced that they’re going to remain the powerhouse they once were.

            They’ve made an art form of bringing poor performance at the beginning of each season since 2015 and I suspect over the next decade they might slip backwards whereas the likes of Mclaren, Renault and Racing Point seem to be on an upward trajectory.

            For mine, RBR would be under severe pressure from Max and his Dad.

        2. @dbradock

          For mine, RBR would be under severe pressure from Max and his Dad.


  4. After watching some drive to survive because I am too lazy to watch Netflix series, does Verstappen still have an exit clause in his contract?

    1. Undoubtedly, @krichelle. Though I haven’t read about the details of such a clause, but doubt it will be relevant when running 2nd in the championship.

      More important though: don’t you love Drive to Survive?

      1. @coldfly Horner did say that Max could have been a free agent during the summer break of 2019 if he was not 3rd in the championship in the series.

        I have only watched 2-3 episodes, one of the Mercedes in Germany and the start of the season with Red Bull in 2019. I just got pretty lazy watching TV LOL

  5. To me, the language that Red Bull are using around the qualy mode ban shows both them and F1 in a bad light. “As we see it, the blatant superiority in qualifying will no longer be there.” Could be translated as “Mercedes have invested heavily to offset the unfair advantage that Ferrari had last year and done a stunning job. Therefore as we’re unable to do the same and can’t be bothered, Mercedes should be penalised for the fact they’ve worked hard to be better than everybody else”. F1 should be a sport of innovation and being the best as long as it’s within the rules, not being pegged back because other teams can’t work out how to be as good. I hope the budget cap and 2022 rules will bring about a new spirit of innovation and we’ll see exciting new developments, but as seems to be the norm these days I suspect the stewards office and complaining will have just as much of an impact on the outcome of racing as hard work and ingenuity. It feels like balance of power regulations in other class of racing without being honest enough to call it that.

    1. Or you could read that as “Mercedes are probably breaking the rules in quali, but the FIA can’t prove it. Once they stop cheating in qualifying, we’ll be much closer” (@wonderbadger)

      I don’t understand why everyone was so sure Ferrari were cheating last year, but think Mercedes are doing everything by the books this year.

      1. Well as we see in Spain and Spa, the Mercs made all their time in the twisty bits. So I would be interested to see where this ‘cheat’ is.

  6. Steiner won a TP award !!??? My, I thought Binotto would have it…

  7. Yes, it might have been more fair to drop Vettel later in the year, but hypocrisy from Montezemolo when he cut people like Aldo Costa off in the worst possible way, and surely others too. Agree about the Allison thing though. That was Ferrari being too kind for its own good.

  8. Ferrari were really only truly dominant to the degree Mercedes is in 2002, but the FIA brought in wholesale changes to rules to bring Ferrari back to the field for 2003.

    Ferrari dominant again in 2004, so huge changes to the rules for 2005 to bring Ferrari to the field.

    Mercedes has been allowed to dominate for 7 straight seasons.

    Enough already. It’s ridiculous.

    Schumacher would have been a 10 time champion.

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