Max Verstappen e un futuro in Ferrari: “Mai dire mai”

Max Verstappen and a future in Ferrari: “Never say never” | FormulaPassion.it

Max Verstappen arrives in Monza fresh from his thirtieth career victory obtained right on his home circuit in Zandvoort, where the orange tide of his fans dominated the horizon of the Dutch track for three whole days. The world champion flaunts understandable peace of mind based on an awareness of his great talent and the value of his RB18 handled to perfection by his team. The Italian stage of the Formula 1 championship could be another decisive loot to take him to his second world title which appears more and more a formality. Verstappen on the eve of the Italian Grand Prix gave an extensive interview to a small group of Italian newspapers. FormulaPassion.it was one of these and we were thus able to collect the absolutely non-trivial reflections of the world champion on many issues such as racing, family, private life.

Looking back on your recent victory in Zandvoort, how special was it to triumph with a helmet identical to your father’s when he raced in Formula 1?
“It has been really special since Saturday when I hit the track with that helmet and took pole position. I grew up running with a helmet with a very similar design to my father’s and I was very proud of it. When I signed with Red Bull [per diventare uno dei loro piloti del loro vivaio ndr] I couldn’t use it anymore, so this victory was really memorable for me ”.

On the podium of the Dutch GP, besides you, there were Russell and Leclerc, all twenty-four years old like you. Do you think this represents the new generation of Formula 1?
“It is certainly a very good generation. We have known each other since the days when we raced on karts and it is nice to find ourselves all in Formula 1 ″.

Does it give you more satisfaction to beat Mercedes or Ferrari?
“No matter who you beat, it is important to be ahead of everyone regardless of whether your opponent is Ferrari, Mercedes or McLaren. This year I have had excellent relationships with everyone in the Ferrari team and so far we have had a good battle with them. Sometimes they have lost points due to small mistakes, but the work they have done in the last two years to get back competitive is something that deserves to be remembered. The progress they have made since 2020 is impressive ”.

Do you think you have improved more as a driver during the last championship, thanks to the pressure of the battle until the last race against Hamilton and Mercedes, or this year where you are always racing without the slightest error perhaps also thanks to the fewer difficulties in the race. title 2022?
“You learn from every experience. At the beginning of this season I was angry about the retirements we had had in the very first races which had really cost me a lot of points. This is because after a championship like the one in 2021, I knew how much my driving error or retirement could cost me at the end of the season. When you run for the title you have to be totally focused on avoiding any loss of points“.

You have won ten races and you only have three to reach the season record of Vettel and Schumacher. Reaching this record would perhaps be the icing on the cake in a triumphant season like this one
“In reality I don’t think about this record, I face each race individually and I look for a way to win it. Obviously, we have far fewer races ahead of us than those we have already raced in the season but the possibility of beating this record is there. But I repeat that it is not my goal. My real goal is to win the world championship and I don’t care how many victories I can get there. I’m not a big fan of statistics ”.

Do you see a possible transition to Ferrari in your future?
“At the moment my contract is with Red Bull until 2028 and I’m very happy to be where I am. But as they say ‘never say never’, I have a very good relationship with the Ferrari and we will see what can happen after 2028. Maybe I won’t be in Formula 1 anymore who knows ”.

By now we have gotten used to seeing your fans coloring the stands of the Formula 1 Grand Prix in orange. We saw something similar in the MotoGP with the fans of Valentino Rossi and the color yellow. Do you find a certain analogy in this?
“I used to watch the Moto GP and I’ve always been very impressed by the following Valentino Rossi had and what he got from his fans. I must say that it is very supportive for me to see the color orange in many parts of some tracks and to feel the cheering. The Dutch are great sports fans and finally having a grand prix in Holland has helped a lot to increase the popularity of this sport in our country ”.

If you could delete a rule from the technical or sporting regulations what would it be?
“Personally I would like to go back to ten or twelve cylinder engines. It’s not that there’s a problem with current machines it’s just that the sound of those machines was something else entirely. I remember in 2010 when I had the opportunity to enter the Formula 1 paddock I had goosebumps hearing the sound of the cars turning during practice. The speed itself was even slower than what we can achieve today and the cornering speeds of modern single-seaters are incredible but the impression it leaves a racing car with an engine like that is something else entirely. Today in the paddock, even if Formula 1 is running, we can still talk and this is very different from an emotional point of view ”.

What do you like to do when you are at home?
“The answer is very simple, I am a person like any other. I like going to restaurants or having fun at home with friends. During the summer holidays I spent a lot of time with my best friends, my sister, her children and her family. We just had fun ”.

Do you see children in your future?
“Sooner or later yes, I like children. As I told you I spent time with my two grandchildren. One is already running and walking but the other still not because she is only nine months old and is starting to take her first steps. Seeing them together is very beautiful “.

We often hear drivers on radio teams who complain about problems with the tires or the car and sometimes we suspect that certain phrases are uttered a little to deceive the opponents who are listening to them. Do you think there is a possibility that some pilots will pretend to have problems for this purpose?
“We are all different among us riders, there are those who are more direct in communications and those who are less. Personally, if I have problems in the car I prefer to tell my team without too many problems. But it really depends from driver to driver ”.

Thirty Formula 1 victories are a huge achievement considering your young age. Is there a victory that is more important to you than the others?
“The first is always the most special because the sense of relief it gives you is truly incredible. But clearly also the Abu Dhabi victory that made me win my first world championship has a special meaning for me. These two are the ones I would put above all others. Winning the home Grand Prix is ​​also something that is difficult to put into words. Seeing all your fans expecting your victory and being able to please them is a very special feeling and I have already succeeded twice ”.

Did becoming world champion change your life in any way?
“In terms of private life, not much, but my way of approaching racing has changed. I am much more relaxed because I have achieved the goals I had set for myself. All that comes in now is some kind of bonus. Obviously my motivation to win is always high, perhaps more than before because I would like this positive moment to continue as long as possible. Seeing my team fighting for the world title is also a very good feeling but the desire to win a world title at any cost is gone because it is a goal achieved, and this relaxes you much more ”.

Are there any stars of other sports or personalities that you particularly admire?
“I’ve never had idols. I’ve always wanted to be myself without copying anyone else because if you do you can only be ‘as good as’ but I don’t want to be ‘as good as’ but be myself without pretending to be someone else. So far I have to say that it has worked pretty well for me ”.

You look a lot less aggressive this year than last season. Depends on what?
“It depends on the car I have but also on the type of racing. Until last year, qualifying was extremely important because your position on the grid largely determined your race. This year, however, the cars allow you to overtake with less difficulty, so even if you have a less than ideal qualification you can still make up positions in the race.. And the defense is also different because you know that even if you are overtaken you have a concrete possibility of recovering and overtaking your opponent. It is therefore natural that the way of running has changed ”.

Today we heard Sainz fondly recall the time you were teammates in Toro Rosso and both spurred each other on. Do you prefer to have a teammate who puts you under pressure and pushes you to the limit or to have one that is quicker than you and therefore allows you to focus on other aspects of your driving?
“Back when we were together in Toro Rosso we were both fighting for a place in Red Bull and we were two rookies. So obviously there was a lot of competition between us. Our personal relationship was very good and we had a really good time together but it is clear that when we were wearing the helmet it was a battle between us. Now we can look back on those years and appreciate them. But I think that when you are in a team that is fighting for the world championship, having a strong competition with your teammate doesn’t always give the best results. For which I think the dynamic I have today with my current teammate is the best“.

With Hamilton you had a very tough battle last year and strong moments of tension. But now it seems that the relationship between you two is good.
“Everything is ok between the two of us, we are pilots and we move on. Also this year I happened to have some accidents on the track with other riders but after some time everything is forgiven and forgotten. It is quite natural that this is the case ”.

What makes you closer to Leclerc than Hamilton. Is it a matter of age or of things in common?
“I’ve known Charles since we were twelve. We grew up racing together and that’s why we know each other the most ”.

We all know how much your father has supported the development of your career as a driver, but your mother has also played an important role and we often see her in the pits or under the podium after a victory that looks at you with admiration and almost emotion.
“It’s nice to have my family with me and to share these moments with them. In the past I have traveled a lot with my father, but my mother was also very supportive because she loved what I did. When I talked to her about racing she knew what I was talking about [ è stata anche lei pilota di kart ndr] and this is a beautiful thing. They deserve this satisfaction because they have sacrificed a lot of their life to support my growth as a rider ”.

Your father Jos has just made his debut as a Rally driver. Is there any chance of seeing you as a co-driver alongside your father in a rally car?
“Absolutely no [Ride]. I looked at his on board and I will never be his co-driver and I already told him. But he can be mine if he wants “.

FP | Gianluca Calvaresi

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