Max on his calendar, sim work and the 2019 season: 'Happy so far'
Published on 20 May 2019 by Stefan Meens
During the Jumbo Race Days at Circuit Zandvoort, Verstappen.nl caught up with Max Verstappen to discuss the Aston Martin Red Bull Racing driver’s 2019 campaign thus far and what a race weekend look like.
On the latter, Max is clear; apart from driving, there are a lot of meetings. It starts with team meetings in the morning. “Those are the most important. They can last an hour and a half. But if things go well, sometimes they last only 25 minutes. But ultimately, you’re whole day is planned. Of course there are team commitments such as a visit to the sponsors too. It’s important to keep them happy. So it’s a busy weekend.”
Apart from meetings with the team, Max also attends meetings with his fellow drivers and race control. “Sometimes drivers want to discuss things that happened in the previous race or you chat about the bumps on a circuit or the safety of it. These things can take ten minutes or last an hour and a half. Sometimes you also have meetings with Pirelli or the Grand Prix Drivers Association (GDPA)”, explains Max before adding: “But the best thing remains driving the car on the limit.”
During the course of a season, Max spends a lot of days in the simulator in the Red Bull factory in Milton Keynes in order to prepare for race weekends. However, the correlation between the sim and the real track differs per circuit. “Street circuits are always more difficult. Having said that, lately it’s going well. I think our sim is one of the best, if not the best, which helps a lot. We’re able to take the data from the track back to sim. That’s something you normally can’t do.”
In total Max spends approximately 30 days in the sim. “They’re long days but in the end it’s good. I don’t think there’s a point in having someone else do it for you; everybody has their own driving style. I’d rather do it myself.”
Reflecting on the first four races of the 2019 season, Max sits third in the drivers championship. “I’m happy with what we’ve achieved. We scored the most points we could. We’re third, ahead of Ferrari, normally we wouldn’t be in that position. If you look at the races thus far, we are the third team. But hopefully we can make some steps to become the second fastest team.”
Despite not being the quickest team, Max is not frustrated. “You’re as good as your last race. Things can change quickly. Until now, I’m happy but Formula 1 remains complex. You can’t always fight for the win but in the end we finished behind the two Mercedes and we’re third in the championship. So I don’t think I have many reasons to complain.”
Nevertheless, Max is hungry for more. “It’s nice to be third but as a team we want to progress. But if at the end of the season you can say you’ve extracted the maximum out of it, then you have to be satisfied.”