Current team boss and founder of F3 and F4 team Van Amersoort Racing, has a unique insight into the current crop of up and coming junior drivers and F1 ‘stars’.
The founder of the team, Frits van Amersfoort, has numerous well known names race for him over the years including Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen, Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc and son of Michael, Mick Schumacher.
Other notables over the years have included Max’s father Jos Verstappen, ex Caterham and Sauber F1 driver Giedo van der Garde along with other popular F1 and sports / touring car drivers; Christijan Albers, Richie Stanaway, Tom Coronel and Callum Ilott.
Frits first worked with Mick Schumacher during his first F4 year in 2015, with a total of 24 races in the ADAC series, of which included a win for the youngster in his debut year away from karting.
Mick then moved to Prema in F4, coming 2nd before graduating to F3 – again with Prema eventually taking 1st spot in the Championship in 2018.
Max Verstappen and Charles Leclerc also raced with Amersoort in Formula 3 Euro Championship. In 2014, the young Verstappen finished up 3rd with 33 races in the series.
The following year Charles Leclerc joined the team in the same F3 series, this team finishing 4th overall from the same number of races.
It is fair to say that Frits van Amersfoort has good insight into how these young drivers compare to one another, and indeed how they’d compare with each other now – consider they’re not much older now than when they competed in the junior formulae.
Amersoort: “Max is a daredevil”
“All three – Max, Mick and Charles – are very different,” says Frits to Sport.de, a German publication.
“I have never seen anyone who is as daredevil as Max. But of course that can sometimes backfire, as you have already seen more often with him.”
And for the latest Ferrari driver, set to replace Kimi Raikkonen in 2019 and partner 4 time Champion Sebastian Vettel:
“Leclerc is more of a thoughtful guy, but he also has a high top speed. I also believe that Ferrari made the right choice. ”
As for the current European Formula 3 champion:
Mick is a racing driver who works hard, and works a lot. He’s not as crazy as Max. Mick uses his head. His strength is that he wants to win races with his head. ”
Sounds familiar? Father to Mick being Michael, the 7 time World Champion and statistically the greatest ever Formula 1 driver in the history of the sport has said to have been the hardest working driver in his time at the top.
As for Mick’s possible transition to Formula 1, va Amersfoort has plenty of guidance explaining that “I advise all my drivers to be careful with F1”.
“Formula 1 is very difficult mentally. Mick already has a lot to do with his many fans.
“I think Formula 2 is the best choice for him. I do not think there is a cockpit available in Formula 1 at the moment where Mick can feel comfortable.
“That’s why it’s no problem to drive another year before Formula One”
Van Amersfoort Racing
Van Amersfoort Racing is an auto racing team based in The Netherlands. The team currently compete in the FIA Formula 3 European Championship and the German ADAC Formula 4 Championship.
The team was formed in 1975 by Frits van Amersfoort. They competed in such series as Formula Opel Lotus Benelux, Opel Lotus Euroseries and Dutch Formula Ford.
In 1989 they reached their first major success, winning Formula Ford 1600 Netherlands championship with Marcel Albers. In 1992 they won Formula Opel Lotus Benelux with Jos Verstappen.
For many years the team competed in various series until finally making the move into F3 in 2012.