“Back to Toro Rosso?”: Max Verstappen Was Once Plagued By Career-Destroying Red Bull Demotion Talks in 2018

Published 12/09/2022, 11:28 AM EST

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Regarded as one of the perfect drivers in today’s time when it comes to speed, agility, and aggression, Max Verstappen has transformed himself to a great extent. However, for fans who have been following the son of Jos Verstappen since his F1 debut know that things weren’t like this always. Despite a series of crashes in 2018, the Dutchman almost got saved from what could have been his career-destroying demotion to his old team, Toro Rosso (now AlphaTauri).

A series of crashes after the start of the 2018 F1 season in Bahrain, China, and Azerbaijan got everyone talking about Verstappen’s demotion to Toro Rosso, the same way Red Bull demoted Daniil Kvyat just after four races in 2016. The talks intensified after Dutchman’s monumental crash with his then-teammate Daniel Ricciardo in Baku, Azerbaijan that year.


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However, for the Red Bull star, a move back to the sister team was not even an option. When asked, the Dutchman told De Limburger in 2018, “Back to Toro Rosso? That’s not possible at all.” On this, Verstappen received enormous support from his team principal Christian Horner.

A move back to Toro Rosso might have jeopardized the career of highly rated and extremely talented young Dutchman. The Briton was a Titanic figure in the team and he did not advocate the demotion. If the move would have gone down, the F1 world might not have seen the dramatic 2021 Abu Dhabi win or 15 wins in a season by a driver in recent times.

Christian Horner wanted Max Verstappen to change his “approach”

Christian Horner, the Red Bull team principal, has been a long-time admirer of Max Verstappen. The Austrian team’s top executive wasn’t ready to give up on the young gun who picked up a Grand Prix win on the very first race of his Red Bull career.


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Talking about Verstappen, post the Bahrain, China, and Azerbaijan incidents, Horner stated, “He needs to go away from this weekend and reflect on what could have been, what should have been, and apply that for the future.”


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“Max has an abundance of talent. He’s had some harsh lessons, obviously, this year and I think a modified approach will benefit him,” concluded the Red Bull honcho as per a report by Eurosport.


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WATCH THIS STORY: Mercedes React to FIA’s admission of “Human Error” in the Verstappen-Hamilton Scandal

Currently known for supreme control over his car, Max Verstappen has developed himself into a racing beast. With 35 race wins and two F1 world championships under his belt, the Red Bull ace shows no signs of stopping.


Written by:

Sabyasachi Biswas


One take at a time

Sabyasachi Biswas is an F1 and NASCAR writer at EssentiallySports. He has completed his Master's in Mass Communication and Journalism from Jadavpur University, Kolkata. Sabyasachi is an ardent Red Bull and Max Verstappen fan and has been following the sport for over a decade now.
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Edited by:

Ranvijay Singh