The absence of Jos Verstappen at the Australian Grand Prix did not go unnoticed, especially by good friend Michael Schumacher. Verstappen was 'released' from his contract with Arrows in favour of Heinz-Harald Frentzen earlier this year in a move...
The absence of Jos Verstappen at the Australian Grand Prix did not go unnoticed, especially by good friend Michael Schumacher. Verstappen was 'released' from his contract with Arrows in favour of Heinz-Harald Frentzen earlier this year in a move that Verstappen is taking legal advice on. Ferrari driver Schumacher was sorry for the Dutchman but believes these things happen for a reason.
"I think a lot of people do miss him, especially myself because I'm a good friend of him and his family. It's a shame that things have been going that way for him," he said. "On the other side, and I believe he sees it the same way, things like this happen for a reason. What I want to say with that is that maybe he gets an even better opportunity. I'm quite glad he is now sort of a test driver for Sauber. Working for a boss like he has had (Tom Walkinshaw) maybe is not worth it."
Schumacher went on to say that what had happened to Verstappen was unpleasant: "We had Christmas and New Year together, and he was not sure whether he was going to race. That's not pleasant. I'm pretty unhappy that people can be in such circumstances, but that's a part of the business, unfortunately, and I hope he will not have that experience again."
After Verstappen was ousted from Arrows there was speculation that he might have been offered a test drive position at Ferrari because of his friendship with Schumacher. The four time world champion, however, believes Verstappen can get along fine on his own strengths. "Honestly, I think it's much better for him if people come to him for his abilities; and that has happened. People like Peter Sauber have come to him because they rate his abilities very highly."
Although Verstappen has been for seat fittings at Sauber's Hinwil factory in Switzerland, his role as the team's test driver has yet to be confirmed. There are doubts about his height, as he is much taller than Sauber drivers Nick Heidfeld and Felipe Massa, and altering the cars to accommodate him may prove too costly.