Before the summer break, Max Verstappen was still the man of the hour in Formula 1, but since then things have not been going so well.
In the four races after the summer break, he was only been on the podium once again, while in the four races before the break, he managed to do so three times and even won two Grands Prix.
Father Jos Verstappen doesn’t like this trend at all.
“We should be closer [to the top] now, but it’s harder than expected,” he explains to ‘Ziggo’ and admits:
“It’s very frustrating that we had some good races before the summer break but stopped after the summer break while others made clear progress.” Obviously referring to Ferrari in particular. The Scuderia won three of the four races after the break.
“Max can’t do much at the moment, we depend on the team”, Verstappen shrugs his shoulders and explains: “He does everything in his power. But it’s not his fault, and that’s what makes it so difficult. Put him in a good car and he’ll race for the championship.
“We’ve been with Red Bull for several years now, and it doesn’t look like we could fight for the World Championship next year.”
“We’re a little behind on the car and the engine. We’ll have to work on these two things if we want to fight for the championship next year,” says the former Formula 1 driver, explaining that his son Max is now also “frustrated” because the good results didn’t materialise recently.
The expectation was that Red Bull would continue to close the gap to Mercedes and Ferrari in 2019.
“But it doesn’t look like it yet”, Verstappen explains and demands:
“The team has to change some things in order to be able to fight for the title. Otherwise, there is a danger that 2020 will be “another lost year”.
He notes sceptically: “Why should we be able to close the gap next year? I’m really worried.”
Currently, half a second is missing to the sharp end, and Verstappen explains: “You can’t close this gap in two weeks”.
Max Verstappen has been driving for Red Bull since 2016, but has never been able to fight for the drivers title during this period. His best place in the championship so far is fourth in the 2018 season. The 22-year-old is also currently behind that high water mark position.
What Verstappen is worried about is the growing number of young drivers who are just as hungry (if not more so) to also be successful. He sees Leclerc winning and sees Albon, Ocon, Norris, Russell and others (Schumacher?) coming along.
Red Bull are getting grid penalties because the Honda engine is still being bench tested to come close to Ferrari and Max will not be getting all the spotlight and support that he has so far enjoyed. Ultimately Jos is afraid his moment in the sun is about to disappear.
Red Bull have the rest of this season and probably 5 or 6 races in 2020 to prove to Verstappen they can win. If they can’t he’s at M-B in 2021.
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