In the most recent episode of Talking Bull, Red Bull Racing had a one-to-one chat with Max Verstappen and his dad Jos Verstappen where they talk all about Max’s career to date, including the time Jos left Max at a petrol station because he’d crashed out of a race, here are the five standout moments from the chat.
1 - Max saw Jos as just ‘a dad’
Despite Jos being a Dutch motor racing legend in his own right, having competed in 106 Formula One races and collecting two podiums, Max just saw Jos as his dad. “From a very young age I was surrounded by racing,” said Max. “I remember that I was in Malaysia when my dad was still in F1, but I was little, so it was like a playground to me.”
Max went on to explain that he doesn’t have a racing hero either, not even his dad. “I never had one. My dad has been a great example, but to me he’s just my dad. I never had any posters in my room. I had a cardboard cut-out of my dad, but that was it. I respect what others have achieved, but I don’t have a hero.”
2 - Jos wasn’t nervous putting Max in a kart at just 4 years old
Max took to karting like a duck to water and despite only being four years old when Jos first put him in a kart, he wasn’t nervous seeing his son drive off. “Max had been riding quad bikes since he was two-and-a-half,” said Jos. “So, he had experience with speed and how to steer. He was four-and-a-half when I first put him in a kart. It was on a rental circuit in a very small go-kart, which we still have. I remember after a few laps he went around the entire track flat out. I then immediately went and bought a bigger kart.”
3 - Jos enjoyed driving to the track as much as winning the titles
For 10 years Max and Jos travelled across Europe together for Max to compete in karting championships, they covered up to 100,000 kms per year. And although he loved watching Max race, it was the time in the van together that stands out for Jos.
“Every year we were racing and we were winning championships. You do a lot of racing, but I enjoyed everything around it. Together in the van, the preparation before. I miss it now,” he said. Max also looks back fondly at their trips together. “I remember the trips, I wouldn’t do the driving again now!” Max explained. “At the time it felt normal, but I can’t see sitting in a van for eight hours to drive.”
4 - Max and Jos have a favourite service station
With all that travel, criss-crossing Europe, there was one place that Max and Jos would always look forward to stopping. “We raced in Italy a lot, and on our way we always stopped at the same service station in Austria because it had fantastic food there. As soon as we left Holland it was on our mind,” said Jos. “It was 6.5 hours into the journey and then we only had 2.5 hours after,” added Max.
5 - Jos left Max at the side of the road – on purpose
We’ll let Max explain this one...
“I burnt my clutch out during practice, so I had to start P10 in the pre-final, I was P2 by the end of the first lap and won the race 3.5s ahead of P2. So, in the final I was in the lead and another guy got me on the straight. I decided I wanted to overtake him back straight away because I wanted to be in the lead, I crashed out and didn’t win the championship. I was upset and my dad was really disappointed. We then sat in the van on the way home. I wanted to talk about it and he didn’t. He told me to get out at the fuel station and I did, he then drove off!”
Jos interrupts to say: “I knew his mother was only a few kilometres behind, so he wasn’t there long. I did it because everything was really easy for him, but I wanted him to feel the pain and know what it was like to lose. I didn’t say a word to him for the entire 1,800 km journey home. I wanted him to understand that he has to think about his actions. It worked. The next season he won everything! He was so focused. What happened in that race made him a better driver.”