Max Verstappen found himself found himself at the heart of a whirlwind of emotions and controversy in Las Vegas. And now, it’s his own father, Jos Verstappen, a former F1 driver, who offers a candid insight into the champion’s mindset and the delicate balance required in the high-stakes world of Formula 1.
Speaking to De Telegraaf newspaper, Jos Verstappen admitted he had a heart-to-heart with Max about his openly vocal frustration throughout the Las Vegas Grand Prix weekend. “You can always say some things,” Jos noted, acknowledging the right to express dissatisfaction. However, he also stressed the importance of tact, “In some cases, you also need to be a bit more delicate.”
This paternal advice reflects an understanding of the pressures that come with being at the pinnacle of racing. “I told Max about this. Sometimes he needs it,” Jos openly admitted, highlighting the need for a more measured approach amidst the high-octane emotions of F1.
Jos also shed light on what might be driving Max’s frustrations: “I think he gets tired of too many people. Max loves the racing, as you can see.” He empathized with his son’s preference for more traditional racing circuits, like Suzuka, as opposed to the flamboyance of newer venues such as Las Vegas. However, he cautioned against outright dismissal of these experiences, “You can’t just kick everything without looking.”
Despite Max’s initial reservations, the Las Vegas race turned out to be a resounding success, a fact that Jos did not overlook. “Sometimes there are circuits that are less fun. And in the end, the race was absolutely great,” he concluded, acknowledging the event’s eventual triumph.
Christijan Albers, another Dutch ex-F1 driver, noted the impact of Verstappen’s mood on the overall perception of the event. “There was so much negativity, and Max didn’t help,” he said, pointing out the influence of a world champion’s opinions. Albers, understanding the weariness that can come with a grueling season, added, “Max has this status as a world champion now. I understand that he’s at the end of his rope this season.”
Robert van Overdijk, the Zandvoort boss who was present in Las Vegas, defended his fellow race organisers, highlighting the significant effort behind the event: “I think what has been achieved there is impressive. It’s like closing the Coolsingel (street) in Rotterdam for a few weeks. That is almost impossible to imagine.”
De Telegraaf’s post-race editorial captured the essence of the weekend, from skepticism to success: “All’s well that ends well for Formula 1 and the hugely hyped race in Las Vegas. After days of negative press, the main course was a complete success. Even Max Verstappen, who stole the show on the asphalt in Elvis overalls, suddenly became much more positive after all that strong criticism.”