Franz Tost is relishing watching his former Toro Rosso driver, Max Verstappen, fight for the world title. After Sebastian Vettel, will another driver from Faenza be able to win the championship? Tost believes so, and also thinks his former protoge is comparible to Ayrton Senna.
How does the Austrian judge Max Verstappen’s progress since his time at Toro Rosso? Of course, many seasons have already passed since 2016; but this year alone, the Dutchman has reached a milestone according to Franz Tost by being able to withstand the pressure of a home Grand Prix in Zandvoort.
“When you can dominate like that in front of screaming fans in your own country, with all the pressure and expectations, you have nothing to fear. Max doesn’t let himself be thrown off balance. He concentrates from race to race. He wants to win every race. If there is a collision to avoid, he will do it. If not, he won’t. Then it’s the crash.”
Max has taken a step forward this year, that’s for sure; but which driver could he be closer to given his current level? Tost does not beat about the bush and responds with Senna, perhaps a controversial comparison many F1 fans would conclude.
“It’s always difficult, but he is most like Ayrton Senna in his willingness to take risks and his absolute desire to win.
“I’ve known him since he started in karting: he has absolute control of the car and never has a problem with speed. He has a very good feel for the car and the tyres. Moreover, his father Jos has given him an incredible base. After that, nothing can surprise him.
Senna was certainly known as one of the most complete drivers in history, not only fast but also a dedicated driver within the team, including technical car feedback, to ensure his machine was fine tuned to his style. Turning to judging Max Verstappen from the same technical point of view, Tost believes Max Verstappen is the best in this respect compared to the last few Toro Rosso drivers that Tost has had to manage.
“Gasly could come close. But Max is the main driver from the technical point of view of the team. That means he develops the car exactly the way he wants. So it’s possible that the second driver could have problems with that.”
It seems perhaps that Max’s driving style compared to that of Pierre Gasly, Alexander Albon or Sergio Pérez, , means that team mates had a hard time in approaching Max Verstappen’s performance?
“I’m not saying it’s a very specific driving style, but he has a unique sense of how to get the best out of the braking point, the cornering point and then the chord point. There are other drivers who can’t handle a car built for Max as well. That’s because they have a different driving style.”
“There will be some exciting races ahead. And as for me: I will be happy if Max ends up winning the title.”