Red Bull have created a ‘Monster’ out of Verstappen

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I was reading an article today about Lewis Hamilton complaining of Sebastian Vettel’s re-start process and a series of stop, go, stop, go etc. It sort of reminded me of last year in Baku when Vettel got caught out by Hamilton and hit the back of him…and then side.

Lewis said that wasn’t allowed in F1 and he’ll seek clarification in Spain. Regardless, that article had another quote from former F1 driver John Watson and it was relatively scathing of young Max Verstappen’s driving and the Red Bull teammates colliding in Azerbaijan.

‘Red Bull have created a monster. After signing him up on a multi-million bucks deal, he thinks he is undisputed No 1. Actually, the way he races is as if he’s still in F3.

‘If I ran the team, I’d swap him with Pierre Gasly, put him back in Toro Rosso (Red Bull’s junior team for whom Gasly drives), to learn how to be a grand prix driver. Until he realises that driving as recklessly as he does serves nobody, he is just going to be a dangerous hot-rod.

‘To think smart, not fast, is beyond him. Over four weekends so far he has screwed up each time. They’ve created a monster and it is difficult to control it now.’

Ouch. On the other hand, having read many of the fan comments about the incident, there is some who feel just like John. That Red Bull recognized the raw, unbridled talent of Verstappen and ended up becoming an enabler instead of a good race craft honing operation for him.

If you argued that advancing him that quickly into the Red Bull team from Toro Rosso, in hindsight, I am not sure I would disagree with you. Recall they called Daniil Kvyat the “torpedo” and while he had his share of incidents, is Max any better having four issues in the first four races of the 2018 season? I’m not sure Kvyat had that many consecutive race incidents to be honest.

When the push to bring younger and younger drivers into the sport, several years ago, I recalled the deep concern over hiring Kimi Raikkonen and Felipe Massa in the very early 20’s. Kimi only had 23 total races under his belt and FIA president Max Mosley had serious concerns over handing him a Super License.

Now we have 18 and 19-year-old drivers and the question I asked back when they hired the likes of Verstappen, Gutierrez, Bianchi, Ocon, Stroll et. al. was, are these drivers getting enough experience in junior formula to be able to run with any modicum of race craft needed for F1?

Most fans of each driver would most likely tell me yes. So would the teams that hired them. Maybe some are and some aren’t and that’s what we’re discovering. Regardless, I think some could use more seat time in a lower formula given the struggles they had in the big league. Instead, they are now ushered out of the door. All is fair in love and war but that’s a harsh world. You got one shot, kid, and if you can’t handle it in F1 even though you’re 18, your F1 career is over.

Still, these young drivers have worked very hard to even get the opportunity and it probably only comes once unless you are Brendon Hartley or Felipe Mass so they take it when it comes regardless if they are ready or not. To thwart my own opinion, this is supposed to be what the Super License ladder system is to guard against ins’t it?

What do you think? Has Red Bull created a monster in Max Verstappen? Should be be sent down to STR to cool off? Are the drivers too young for the pressure, money and demands of F1? You could argue that Max is a race winner so maybe not.

Hat Tip: Daily Mail

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Matt Guss

You covered almost everything except the magic word: maturity. Max has the skills but not the maturity to have that seat. He lacks the required judgement, has a temperament that is right on the edge of good & bad and we’re watching the consequences. It’s all about his lack of maturity. In a way I think this answers the question of how young drivers should be. Nobody knows the exact age, but this is clearly too young. Its not fair to the drivers, their teammates, competitors, fans and teams.


I mean you definitely have a point – he’s a pup at 20 years old. But he’s been doing this for 4 years now. He isn’t exactly new to this anymore and we can’t keep hiding behind his age as an excuse. If I was in my fourth year at any place in my career and pulling things like this, young or not, I’d be canned. The only thing I can compare it to is from Major League Baseball with Bryce Harper – where in his fourth year he had been around the older guys long enough to know what… Read more »


Maybe he should distance himself from his dad at races, or better yet get dad a VIP seat for the races but keep he and Max separated until Sunday post race.
His dad , from what I’ve read, is a bit of a hothead, which is the last thing Max needs around him during the BIG SHOW.


Cannot agree on your view on “lack of maturity”. I think he’s been racing since very young age and had hundred or even thousand of races under his belt. So, he should have certain degree of maturity in racing (not age).
When I watch how Charles Leclerc raced in the lower formula, IMHO, his finesse in how to approach a competitor is much more mature than that what we’ve seen from Max. I put my bet Leclerc will crown champion earlier than Max should he able to land a competitive seat in the top team (Ferrari).


Red Bull know if they demote him they will lose him. Unlike Kvyat, Max is actually fast and hasn’t “lost it”, rather he just drives like a moron.

Unfortunately, RBR can’t demote Max.


I don’t think Red Bull would really be concerned if things got to that point. As it is, Verstappen’s stock is at an all time low. His getting sent back to TR would be a racing equivalent of a stock market crash. At that point, Max will follow Kvyat’s route.


I don’t think they would lose him well not until the end of 2020 season he is locked in to a contract. Horner and Marko have stated before a Red Bull contract does not guarantee a seat in a Red Bull and they can be moved where ever they see fit. Unless however he has a clause in his contract which states he only drives for Red Bull, but I highly doubt it.


He’s a product of the media now, he believes his own hype.
Yeah, sure, he’s got oodels of talent but he’s lacks the ability to convert that into actual performance.
There’s no chance that they will demote him, can you imagine Jos’ face!

To quote Top Gun “your ego is writing checks your body can’t cash”.


Well thought and written


Sadly it might take a serious accident before he’ll learn.

sunny stivala

In their newest creation RBR had a not small hand pushing them in the form of both the media and the FIA. To fully understand what the end result looks like just google “ Baku illustration by F1lollipopman – reddit”. click cartoon and watch.


Monster is not quite right word.

“Mad” is more appropriate.


His head is definitely in the wrong place this season (up his Verst-ass-en, I’d claim). Like you’ve said, he’s had a run worse than the one that saw Kyvat demoted. Red Bull haven’t shown themselves to be able to nurture a young driver having a difficult time in the past, so Verst-ass-en is on his own to sort himself and his attitude out. With just the influence of his dad, and the RBR heiracy – so basically he’s screwed! He needs JY Stewart to sit him down and give him the ‘Senna’ lecture – “Laddie, if you can see a… Read more »


IMO Verstappen should replace Gasly for a race with income adjustment making him further understand the team could repeat the same measure in the future and will do so this year until he wises up.
There should be duality of purpose. i) Mental impact. He frowns on speeches, whereas this is tangible punitive measure he will remember for life. ii) Aim is not to slow him down, but drive more wisely.

He should definitely tattoo message on his liver, “I am replaceable”.


Every contract has number of defensive clauses intended to protect the team. RBR, among all in the paddock, has proven already they do not hesitate to move drivers around, when they felt it was in their interest to do so. (Ask Kvyat and others.) Dr. Helmut Marko is not Doctor of Law for nothing after all.

F1 fan

Danny RIC had the faster car early on in the race, RBR should of told max to let him pass(if he would have, that’s another story). I don’t see this as team orders, more team strategy as was quite clear to see not only did they loss time to the front runners fighting each other the writing was on the wall as to how it was going to end up. RBR let this happen with their lack of action!


Totally agree… If RBR were interested in points as a team or for Ricardo to challenge the front runners they would and should’ve asked Max to let him past. I’m sure Ricardo would’ve been on the podium and Max scoring some points and RBR scoring dual points finish instead of 0 points. I’d say it’s shear stupidity by Christian Horner. No point in pointing the finger on which driver to blame. It’s like a post mortem job.

P.S: I’m not a Max fan. Ricardo is a way better driver.


Good article. For me it is about two things here, respect and frustration. He clearly is a good driver but I think the hype and talent he clearly has had made him think he is it. In his junior career he was not challenged like this, from what I saw in junior formulae he was either on pole or just drove round everyone to win, so he is good. Now the other drivers are absolute top drawer and are stopping jumping out of the way, nowadays when he chucks a questionable move(Kimi at Hungary last year for example who did… Read more »

sunny stivala

Anybody noticed and has any idea why Ross Brawn wording when he commented on the VER/RIC accident have been changed inside 24 hours?.


What did Brawn say, and what does it say now?

sunny stivala

First version:- “once Daniel had settled for his line, and max had changed direction once more, the Australian suddenly had to cope with a car that was very light at the front and due to the turbulent air generated by the leading red bull”.
Current version:- “once Daniel had settled for his line, and Max had changed direction blocking that line, the Australian became a passenger”.
These Liberty people cannot be trusted, Brawn aim was to push his aero agenda some more after the FIA rushed through show of force as to who is supposed to make the rules.


Thanks Sunny.
I guess L.M don’t want to antagonise FIA at this time – hopefully they have some plan to either work collaboratively with the FIA on regulations, or find a way to get control of regulation making.
BTW – its hard to imagine that the 2019 wing changes would have helped Ricciardo. Being that close to the back of Verst-ass-en’s car, any wing is going to lose downforce.

sunny stivala

“Find a way to get control of regulation making?” Yes they can by rendering the F1 they own the commercial rights too into an Indycar/Neascar series of their own. but even then, they will be competing with the original F1 as we know it over this side of the pond. whatever the aero level will be any car following another is always going to suffer some loss of downforce big or small. the funny thing is first they agree to add downforce wider cars wider tyres to make the cars faster and spice up the spectacle, then they want to… Read more »


I think both of us find the lack of consistency between the statements and actions of L.M frustrating.
There are probably lots of reasons for that lack of consistency, but for a media company, their ability to ‘manage their message’ is disappointing.


I’ve seen that on a couple of site the full quote from Ross Brawn includes both bits of those statements, so the apparent ‘change’ is probably the full statement being edited for conciseness, rather than reshaping Brawn’s comments. The longer quote I found goes, “Speaking about the changes, Brawn argued that the dramatic collision between Red Bull team-mates Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen could have been avoided with these aerodynamic changes. Once Daniel had settled for his line, and Max had changed direction once more, the Australian suddenly had to cope with a car that was very light at the… Read more »


Honestly, the two versions sound almost identical to me, one just less technical and wordy than the other. When you’re that close, I don’t care how little downforce you have – all things being equal, the car behind isn’t going to stop as well as the car in front at F1 speeds. Or even at chumpcar racing speeds.


Actually if you knew anything about this site you’d know two things: 1. We’ve (mostly) never liked Max, only grudgingly acknowledge his nerve (notice I didn’t say ‘balls’). 2. we don’t put up with dckbites such as yourself talking trash to fellow readers OR the administrators and/or writers. Civility and decorum are the norm. Follow that rule or pss off.


If I was in RBs shoes, I would leave it be. They got another talking to, I hope it sinks in. Not finishing and crashing your team mate are lessons enough. He’s not stupid, he will get a handle on it. Every driver slumps. This kind of talent is rare, because of that I’m willing to give him more slack than most.


Hi Todd, why do you think the message from this incident will have been received and lead to change, when the messages from the previous three races weren’t?
You’ll remember that after China we thought the fact he’d thrown away a race win would have been the message he needed.

Tom Firth

I don’t think for a moment that Max should be demoted, he’s proven his speed and ability on many occasions, having secured podiums and wins for RBR. He has a right to be in F1 in a top seat. What does need to happen now though is a transition from the raw aggression he’s used since Formula 3, to quite a bit of success but is now causing issues into strategic aggression which is more in-keeping with F1. That transition is and will continue to be messy but if he can navigate it, and Red Bull can have the patience… Read more »


Hi Tom, when you look at how many points Verst-ass-en has lost the team so far this season (finishing significantly behind the potential of the car in all four races so far, and throwing away a likely win), and the cost of the car damage he’s caused, even Red Bull must be thinking “we should be challenging for 2nd in the WCC, at this rate we’ll be lucky to get fourth”.
They must surely be wondering how much longer they are prepared to indulge Verst-ass-en’s stubborn unwillingness to learn.


IMHO, Max is over-rated. He has potential, but lacks what it takes to put it to work. Other young drivers have made early errors, from Hamilton beaching his car at pit entry to Vettel’s propensity to blow engines up to his own list of goofy incidents. The difference is, as each season passed, they improved, and by Vettel’s 4th full season he was WDC twice, 2nd once, and STR’s only race/pole position winner. Hamilton was 1x WDC and 2nd once, and has simply improved continuously since, etc… Max has not improved, he has become worse. He is driving over his… Read more »


What about Perez? He deserves a better car!


Riccardo was clearly WAY faster than Max at that point of the race. Knowing Max’s temperament, with or without team orders, I think Ricc should have picked another place to pass Max. True, RBR should have protected their own interest and said something, but both driver’s lost their temper in that corner.


I’m not saying Max had no hand in the accident, but it was inevitable Daniel would get it wrong sometime, His overtakes rely heavily on the other guy avoiding a collision. And while for Daniel they were labeled heroic overtakes, the same moves have been labeled mad man divebombs for Max Max has been under a microscope since he entered F1, and no matter what he does people will always point at him as the one to blame. Seems to be the popular thing to do these days. Had it been Vettel defending like that and Stroll rear-ending him, no… Read more »


Simple difference… Max made 2 moves. There’s really no argument about that. Ric fakes to the right, Max covered it, Ric moved left & Max moved again to cover the 2nd move. Like everyone has suggested, Max is too immature at this point to accept that someone is faster than him so will do anything, whether illegal or not, to stop it from happening. Until he finally stops this behavior he will not be a top flight F1 driver.


You’re totally missing what i’m saying. i’m not denying Max shared blame in this accident, or that he needs to change some things. I’m saying it was inevitable that Daniel would eventually get it wrong, as his overtakes rely heavily on the other guy avoiding an accident. And Max is being judged differently then other drivers, he can make the same move as Hamilton for instance and where Hamilton gets praised he gets criticized. I don’t get where people get this constant need to put him down comes from. Just be happy he’s in F1, when Max is around action… Read more »