Jos Verstappen isn’t the first successful motor racer of his family.
Max Verstappen (Van Amersfoort Racing) is one of the rookies on this year’s FIA Formula 3 European Championship grid. And the Dutchman isn’t the first successful motor racer of his family as his father, Jos, also won quite a number of trophies. In 1993 he won the German Formula 3 to afterwards make it to Formula 1. Now, he accompanies his son Max and supports him in any possible way.
Could you please describe your role in the career of Max? When Max still was karting, we did everything ourselves, with me attending to the engine, the kart’s set-up and the mentoring of Max, too. Now he drives for Van Amersfoort Racing and I’m just his taxi driver. First of all I take him to the tracks – but I also observe what he does, talk to the engineers every now and then and I’m always there if he should have questions.
You have been a Van Amersfoort Racing driver yourself, in your career as active motor racer… That’s true. I raced for them in the 1992 Formula Opel Series and we won the title, in that year. The only team members from these days that still are part of the squad are Team Principal Frits van Amersfoort and Rob Niessin. My old Formula Opel team represented a very good choice, for Max. He currently feels really good, as member of the Van Amersfoort squad. And that’s something I regard as extremely important for someone making his first steps on the single-seater racing ladder.
What do you regard as Max’ strengths? He quickly can familiarise himself with new circuits and set fast lap times right from the start. Up to last week, he never was at Hungaroring and was quick right from the beginning, nevertheless. I think this is Max’ biggest strength and it will help him a lot as you usually haven’t got a lot of time to adapt to new conditions, such as a new car or new track, today. In addition, he already has got, despite being so young, a very professional approach. As a racing driver, he provides the full package – but still has to gather a lot of experience.
The tests went really promising. Following these test: what are your expectations for Max’ first FIA Formula 3 European championship race meeting that will be held as early as this weekend at Silverstone? It’s true, Max was fast in the tests. But racing is a completely different kettle of fish. It will be important to allow him the time he needs without putting him under pressure by too high expectations. From a realistic point of view, I think that he should be delighted with securing a top-10 result over the course of the first three race weekends. Afterwards, however, he might be able to work his way further up. At the end of the day, I just wait and see and let the things to come surprise me.