20-year-old driver said he will not change his racing style, despite penalty in US Grand Prix
Red Bull Racing Formula One driver Max Verstappen has said the races need more energy.
The 20-year-old Dutch driver, famous for his brash style of driving, was handed a five-second penalty at the United States Grand Prix for overtaking Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen.
Speaking to Arabian Business at the 2017 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, however, Verstappen said the punishments will not stop him from competing in his ‘style’.
“I think we can race a bit more, but I’ve said that before… Time will tell if [Formula One] will change something, but I won’t change my style. So we’ll see,” he said.
Former Formula One boss Flavio Briatore, who claims the sport of becoming ‘too boring,’ has praised Verstappen’s racing technique, calling him Formula One’s ‘next star.’
“He’s doing very well, but they’re trying to kill him. This is completely crazy. F1 has become too controlled. It must let the drivers fight more,” he told Auto Hebdo.
In January 2017, American investment firm Liberty Media acquired Formula 1 from previous owner Bernie Ecclestone for $8.5 billion, having bought over 18 per cent of shares in F1 Group’s holding company, Delta Topco, in September 2016. Ecclestone was replaced by now-chief executive Chase Carey, also vice chairman of 21st Century Fox media.
Part of Liberty’s changes for the organisation includes plans to organise more races in US cities such as Miami. This however, was met with opposition from Ecclestone, who argued races in the US would not bring in profit.
Despite Ecclestone’s views, Verstappen said Liberty Media are on the right path to making Formula One more exciting.
“[Liberty Media] are really thinking about changing stuff, so I’m really looking forward to the next couple of years [to see] what they try to achieve. I think it’s good to have something fresh at this point as well,” he said.
Verstappen became the youngest driver to compete in Formula 1 at the age of 17, when he took part in the Australian Grand Prix for Scuderia Toro Rosso. He also became the youngest to lead a lap, set the fastest lap, score points, secure a podium and win a race during a Formula One Grand Prix, having won the 2016 Spanish Grand Prix in his debut race for Red Bull Racing at the age of 18.
Verstappen said Formula One initially thought he was too young to compete.
“They thought I was too young and it wouldn’t be possible to do great things, but I think I’ve proven [them] wrong. So now you can see, in general, the [drivers are] all starting a bit younger, which is great to see. So I’m happy that we could achieve something like that,” he said.