Red Bull driver Max Verstappen has revealed that Helmut Marko is like his second father while explaining how Dad – Jos Verstappen – has less and less involvement in the young Dutchman’s decision making process in Formula 1.
It is well known that Jos Verstappen groomed his son to Formula 1 by preparing his karts and handling his progress through the junior single seater series’ that his son competed in and even had a presence during young Verstappen’s early day at Toro Rosso.
That presence is still there in the background, but the extent of the influence father has over son has now diminished as the sport’s youngest grand prix winner is expected to make his own calls when it matters.
During an interview with Ziggo Sport, Verstappen shed light on Jos’ role, “I wouldn’t say we’ve grown apart now that I’m in F1. Of course, I must do more my own thing. People expect me to be my own man, instead of my Dad doing things for me. But I think it’s important to have people like him to advise me and for them to have my back.”
“Of course we had different opinions, but ultimately he was right, nine out of ten times. So, I trust his opinion. We both have strong egos, but that is in our blood and has gotten us this far and into F1. If we didn’t have that drive, we’d still be in go-karts.”
Verstappen senior plotted his son’s career from a very early age and was a hard taskmaster by all accounts. Their partnership in karting is that of legend however it was Jos funding and running the show, thus it was always his way or the highway.
Now that his son is an established Formula 1 superstar, things have as Verstappen junior explained, “I trust him but that doesn’t mean I don’t make my own choices. A good example is Malaysia last year. We had some new parts on the car.”
“They didn’t really work for Daniel, but I was convinced they would be beneficial, despite set-up difficulties. I decided to keep using them. During the practice sessions, we just couldn’t make it work but I was adamant we should use them in qualifying.”
“Dad came up to me and told me he I shouldn’t use the new parts. I stuck to my guns. In the end, we managed to make them work and I qualified in third, a really good result for the car at the time. Afterwards, I walked up to Dad and said: told you so. Of course, he laughed, he was happy with the choice!”
Big Question: Should Jos have a more active role in Max’s F1 career?