Column: Jos Verstappen - More Dutch than Belgian
Published on 11 April 2015 by Stefan Meens
Jos Verstappen is still the Netherlands most successful Formula 1 driver. This season he shares his opinions regarding the sport via a column in Dutch daily newspaper De Telegraaf. Below the latest edition.
“At the moment, everyone wants a piece of Max. On the one hand, it's flattering as it confirms how well he is doing, both in and outside the car. He comes across well in the media, is a fresh face in the paddock and is remains true to himself, so I understand a lot of people are proud of him. As am I. However, there are some things I struggle with in terms of his popularity.
For example, in the eyes of some Belgian media, Max is apparently Belgian. To be honest, I think that's a bit cheap. He's been racing for years but up until a few months ago, no one spoke or wrote anything about Max and now they claim he is theirs. And I completely disagree.
It's true that Max has both nationalities, because Sophie and I were married when Max was born. However, he races and always has raced with a Dutch racing license so from that perspective he is more Dutch than Belgian. And that is the way he feels about it too. If the Dutch play a game of football against Belgium, he'll support the Netherlands. And if he turns eighteen and he has to chose, he'll opt for the Dutch nationality.
You can tell Max' Formula 1 début is popular back home. Everybody is enthusiastic and that comes across in conversations with potential sponsors. At the moment, Max has one personal sponsor, Jumbo Supermarkets, but there is still one free spot on the side of his helmet and cap. So hopefully we're able to fill that gap in the foreseeable future.
In the meantime, Max has to keep his focus on the racetrack. Frankly I’m not worried, he is ready to go. Last week on Monday, he was back home after almost a month away. A few days at home, relaxing, have been good for him. He can come home and be the guy he was half-a-year ago, when he wasn’t an F1 driver. He can meet up with friends, game on his playstation and train on his new Carrera bike.
In between, he had to go to Milton Keynes for some simulator work. When he arrived back home on Thursday evening, he went to his room straight away. In there, he has a semi-professional simulator. The first thing he did was to adjust some setting so his own simulator matches the team's machine better. It really shows how professional Max is. It's awesome to witness.
On Sunday I'm hoping for another points finish. That would be a great result. Two weeks ago in Malaysia, Max was the first 'Bull' across the line and that result gave him an extra boost. If the B-team beats the A-team, that tells you something about Toro Rosso, about Max and his team mate Carlos Sainz but also the team back in the factory and technical director James Key. There's a good vibe among the team and that's something we'll have to maintain.”
Source: De Telegraaf/Telesport