Max Verstappen took a surprising turn at Mugello. Red Bull’s triple world champion was reported by the Swiss newspaper Blick to have been behind the wheel of a different kind of speed machine – a Ferrari 296 GT3. But this was a bit more than just a casual spin around the Ferrari-owned circuit. Verstappen was in Italy with a purpose: to impart wisdom to Thierry Vermeulen, his friend and a young driver under his tutelage.
Thierry, the 21-year-old Dutch racer, carries not just the hopes of a young career but also a significant lineage. He is the son of Raymond Vermeulen, Verstappen’s manager, and he races with Verstappen.com branding. In a realm where the right guidance can make all the difference, Verstappen’s mentorship is invaluable. Raymond Vermeulen, speaking to Blick’s veteran Formula 1 journalist Roger Benoit, affirmed this, saying, “Max was able to give him some good tips after a few laps.”
However, the aspirations of the young Vermeulen lie beyond the glitz and glamour of Formula 1, a path Raymond acknowledges. “Formula 1 is not a goal for us. I know which way is up – the air is far too thin for that. So we stay away. There are other interesting categories in racing,” he remarked.
Verstappen also made a stop at the Emil Frey team in Safenwil, Switzerland. “I’m happy to help Thierry,” Max confirmed, adding, “We’re something like a big family, and I’m also a GT and sim racing fan.”
Dr. Helmut Marko, Verstappen’s F1 boss, predicts: “One day, Max will found his own GT team. He’s just a real racer.”