It’s fair to say that, in his four seasons in Formula 1 to date, Max Verstappen has more than fulfilled the promise Red Bull saw in him when they signed the Dutchman up to the Red Bull Junior Team midway through his 2014 European Formula 3 campaign. And according to Sir Jackie Stewart, the Verstappen model needs to be used as an example of how to get the best young talent racing in Formula 1 in the future.
Verstappen has been the fourth most successful driver in F1 since stepping up to the series in 2015, winning five times from his 81 Grand Prix starts so far – including taking victory in his first ever appearance for Red Bull Racing at the 2016 Spanish Grand Prix – alongside 17 other podium appearances. His end-of-season form in 2018, meanwhile, saw him score the second highest number of points behind Lewis Hamilton from the Belgian Grand Prix onwards, including an emphatic win in Mexico, while he appeared on course to repeat his triumph two weeks later in Brazil before his clash with Esteban Ocon demoted him to second behind Hamilton.
Nonetheless, the Dutchman, says Stewart, is a perfect example of young talent being supported on the journey to Formula 1 – and the three-time world champion wants to see more of the same in the future.
“We need young drivers, we need new blood,” said Stewart, speaking during an exclusive F1 Fan Voice Q&A session. “And they’re out there – and suddenly, a Verstappen arrives and blows the place apart, and that’s rejuvenating, in a way, for Formula 1, that he’s come in and done so well so quickly. But Red Bull had [a lot to do with that], by bringing him on through the formative classes of the sport.
“But it’s tougher today than it’s ever been for a young driver to come along, to find the resources.”