Max Verstappen in 2014 on the road to F1

Max Verstappen AutoWeek College

Max Verstappen was able to take the world title in Formula 1 in a blistering way on Sunday afternoon in the last round of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. A great moment to look back at where it all started in 2014, because barely a week before his F1 debut, Verstappen was a guest at AutoWeek College.

In September 2014, a dream came true for Max Verstappen. He was allowed to play for the first time during a Formula 1 weekend. On September 29, the time had come and he drove a free practice session for the Toro Rosso team. This made him the youngest driver ever in an official F1 session, Verstappen had turned 17 a few days earlier. Just a week before this historic moment, the still very young driver was a guest at AutoWeek College, where he answered questions in his own way about his career and his expectations for the future in front of a room full of interested parties.

Verstappen was asked, among other things, what he thinks could make the difference, because that the speed was there, that seemed beyond dispute. “In terms of race speed, I don’t think it matters if you’re in your first or third year. It’s just the experience that ultimately makes the difference between winning a championship or finishing second or third.” With this, Verstappen was mainly referring to Formula 3 in which he was active at the time, because in Formula 1, material would of course also become essential to be able to take a shot at the title at all.

Max Verstappen AutoWeek College

The goal for his first season in Formula 1 was clear: “Beat my teammate, make as few mistakes as possible and score as many points as possible.” If he had to mention a concrete number of points: “Depends on how good the car is, but I hope more than 10 or 20 points.” He succeeded, as Verstappen defeated teammate Carlos Sainz and took 49 points in his first season in Formula 1. In the second season he made the surprising switch to top team Red Bull Racing, where he immediately won the first GP, in Barcelona.

Finally, this year he finally got the car good enough for the title. Verstappen already believed in 2014 that he was in the right place at Red Bull: “I have been with different teams. There were also exploratory conversations at Mercedes. We heard everything and chose Red Bull, because there was the best feeling about it.” Verstappen was also asked to choose between Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton, the two drivers who were going for the world title at that time. He should have known then how the flag would hang in front of it seven years later. Verstappen replied immediately, with a slight smile: “Hamilton”.

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