Why Max Verstappen Rejected a Potential Seat at Mercedes F1

Published 12/26/2020, 8:46 AM EST
Formula One F1 – Abu Dhabi Grand Prix – Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates – December 13, 2020 Race winner Red Bull’s Max Verstappen and third placed Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton during the press conference after the race FIA/Handout via REUTERS


It is no coincidence that Max Verstappen is the youngest person ever to drive a Formula 1 car. His prodigious talent was spotted early on by Red Bull, and they reacted quickly in snapping him up.

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The Dutchman’s team had a meeting with Red Bull advisor Helmut after the 2014 German GP in Hockenheim. Straight after, they met with Mercedes’ Toto Wolff and Niki Lauda.

So, given that they were the leading car back then, why did he choose Red Bull over them?

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The answer is simple. They offered him an F1 cockpit at sister team Toro Rosso in 2015. Since Mercedes were settled with their driver pairing of Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton, they could not guarantee him an immediate entry into F1.

Formula One F1 – Sakhir Grand Prix – Bahrain International Circuit, Sakhir, Bahrain – December 5, 2020 Red Bull’s Max Verstappen celebrates after qualifying in third position Pool via REUTERS/Tolga Bozoglu

However, Mercedes have been winning every championship since then, with Red Bull never truly in contention.

So, does the Dutchman or his team regret rejecting Mercedes?

Max Verstappen’s agent, Raymond Vermeulen, doesn’t think so.

“No, I think we made the right choice at the time,” he said.

“All three of us [Max, Jos, and Vermeulen] still fully support that decision. I think at Red Bull, Max did get super guidance and also a super preparation for his F1 debut.

“We are at Red Bull and feel really comfortable there. What the future brings, is the future. But for the time being, we are very happy with the choices we have made.”

Vermeulen confident Red Bull will have competitive engine for Max Verstappen next season

The Silver Arrows are way ahead of the Energy Drinks Outfit in the power unit department. However, they outclassed Mercedes at the season-finale in Abu Dhabi. Vermeulen thinks it was a sign of things to come for them next season.

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“We have a wonderful season ahead of us with Honda. We are very positive about what is on the shelf for next year’s engine. But we are also very interested in what will happen from 2022 onwards.

Formula One F1 – Abu Dhabi Grand Prix – Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates – Red Bull’s Max Verstappen celebrates winning the race on the podium Pool via REUTERS/Hamad I Mohammed

“They are very open and transparent to Max about that. We are waiting patiently and have every confidence that it will come to a successful conclusion.”

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Though Honda is exiting F1 in 2022, they remain committed to helping Red Bull in their bid to topple Mercedes. Hopefully, they can come up with the goods next year and give Max, the power that his racing talent deserves.

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Bharat Aggarwal

700 articles

Bharat Aggarwal is a sports analyst for EssentiallySports, covering Formula 1 and NBA. A Delhi University graduate, Bharat has multi-year experience in sports writing, having closely worked with the content strategy aspect as well. Bharat Aggarwal supports Manchester United, Lewis Hamilton, Cristiano Ronaldo, Rafael Nadal, Dirk Nowitzki, Sachin Tendulkar, Ayrton Senna, Kristaps Porzingis, and Dallas Mavericks.

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