Verstappen talks with other F1 teams revealed

Exciting revelations have emerged about Max Verstappen’s potential switch to Mercedes, as disclosed by his father, Jos Verstappen. It has been unveiled that both Mercedes and Ferrari were interested in the talented Red Bull driver.

Back in 2014, when Max was just starting out in Formula 3 and impressing everyone, Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff secretly invited him and his father to his house in Vienna for serious discussions. Jos Verstappen, a former Formula 1 driver himself, revealed this in an interview with Gazzetta dello Sport.

 

A promising start in Karting & F3

Verstappen dominated various championships, including the prestigious KF3 World Cup and the WSK Euro Series. His exceptional speed, raw talent, and competitive spirit set him apart from his peers. Verstappen’s karting achievements caught the attention of the motorsport world and paved the way for his transition to single-seater racing.

In 2014, at just 16 years old, Verstappen made his debut in the Formula 3 European Championship with Van Amersfoort Racing. It was a bold move for such a young driver, but Verstappen wasted no time in making an impact.

Verstappen secured his first victory in his debut race weekend at Silverstone, becoming the youngest winner in the history of the championship. The win was a glimpse into the immense potential that Verstappen possessed.

 

READ MORE: Red Bull driver critical of management

 

Mercedes missed out

However, Jos believes that Wolff might not have fully grasped Max’s exceptional talent since he didn’t closely follow his karting career. Otherwise, he would have immediately signed him, even if Mercedes didn’t have a junior program at the time.

“We went to his house in Vienna and had serious talks,” the 51-year-old said, adding, “But I don’t think Toto followed him much in karting and really knew how special Max was, otherwise he would have signed him without thinking, even if Mercedes didn’t have a junior programme.”

 

READ MORE: Mercedes say Hamilton WRONG about driving position

 

 

Red Bull deal emerges

Ultimately, a deal with Mercedes did not materialize. Instead, the Verstappen duo had a different meeting with Red Bull consultant Helmut Marko shortly after the German Grand Prix at Hockenheim in July 2014.

Jos vividly recalls sitting down with Marko in the Red Bull motorhome, where Marko expressed his intention to see Max driving for Toro Rosso in Formula 1 the following year:

“We went to the Red Bull motorhome and sat down at a table. Helmut said: ‘I only have twenty minutes’,” recalled father Jos.

“Next year I want to see Max in a Toro Rosso in Formula 1”

This decisive conversation led Max to join Red Bull’s development program, and just three days after his 17th birthday, he made history by becoming the youngest driver ever to participate in an F1 weekend during the first free practice session in Japan.

 

Ferrari ‘civil war’ breaking out

 

Ferrari calling

Furthermore, after completing his debut season in Formula 1 at the end of 2015, Max Verstappen was reportedly approached by Ferrari.

Jos Verstappen mentioned that the interest came from the “old management” of Ferrari, who were considering a successor to Kimi Räikkönen at the time. However, the specific reasons behind Ferrari not pursuing Verstappen were not disclosed. Ultimately, Räikkönen continued with Ferrari for three more years.

Verstappen’s career then took an early turn towards Red Bull after just four races with Toro Rosso in the 2016 season. The rest, as they say, is history.

Verstappen went on to secure his first two World Championship titles in 2021 and 2022, and he is currently on an inevitable path toward a third consecutive title.

READ MORE – Nyck de Vries exit: Verstappen steps in

 

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