Max Verstappen has been a boost for Formula 1 this year, says his father Jos, despite questions about his age before he arrived and criticisms from rivals about his driving.
The Dutchman is the youngest driver to have raced in F1, after making his debut at the Australian Grand Prix aged just 17.
But his early promotion to F1 prompted the FIA to revise its Superlicence rules for next year, and some on-track incidents have prompted outspoken remarks from other drivers.
Nonetheless, with strong points-scoring performances, and attention grabbing outings like in Monaco, former grand prix driver Jos has no doubts that his son's arrival has done nothing but help F1 become more exciting.
“He was ready for it; and not every 17 year old is ready for that,” Jos Verstappen told Motorsport.com about his son's arrival and the questions about his age.
“I can understand why they changed the [Superlicence] rules, but there is nothing I can do about that.
“I am happy he is in F1, and he is doing well. Red Bull is happy with him, and I think F1 should be happy with a driver like Max.
"He is quick, he is aggressive, and he is a guy who can overtake. These are the kinds of drivers that are always good for sport.”
Criticisms no worry
Verstappen has not escaped controversy this year, and his collision with Romain Grosjean at the Monaco Grand Prix led to a furious outburst from Felipe Massa.
Speaking after the race, Massa said: “I think it was very dangerous for him, to be honest, because he is 17. If he is hurt then everybody will talk about it.
"They will say, why give the licence to a guy who is 17 and he is doing that? But he is not hurt, and everybody is happy. They need to do things in a better way."
But Jos said that the Massa row had been of little concern – and only served to show that his son was making the right impression and worrying his rivals.
“He [Massa] always makes comments. It doesn't matter,” he said. “It only makes Max more interesting when people like that start making comments about Max.
“It shows a lot what Max is doing. It is good. He is a very clever guy, he speaks the language very well. He knows what he can and cannot say. And the team knows he is doing a great job.”
Jos Verstappen also says that despite widespread criticisms last year that his son had been handed an F1 drive at such a young age, he has not had anyone confess to him personally that they were wrong.
“I read some articles that some people said they were wrong, but nobody came to me to say they were wrong,” he said.
“I don't mind if they say that, and I don't mind if they say they were wrong: I knew he could do it, Red Bull knew he could do it, they had a lot of faith in him.
“If somebody says he didn't believe in it, then it's simple. But obviously they were wrong.”
Interview by Oleg Karpov