Max Verstappen, Toro Rosso, Spa-Francorchamps, 2014

Verstappen is “like Senna” – Marko

2015 F1 season

Posted on

| Written by

Max Verstappen, Toro Rosso, Spa-Francorchamps, 2014Max Verstappen is a talent worthy of comparison with Ayrton Senna, according to Red Bull’s motorsport director Helmut Marko.

Marko described Verstappen, who turns 17 years old next week and will drive for Toro Rosso next year, as “an exceptional talent that comes along only once in decades”.

In an interview with the official F1 website Marko compared Verstappen to Senna, who like Verstappen went straight into F1 from Formula Three.

“In such a case you must not look at his age,” said Marko. “He has been talking with people who are experts when it comes to the development of youngsters and they all say that (in terms of) his mind he is more like 22 than 16.”

“And regarding his skills behind the steering wheel, he has been racing since he was four years old – professionally. So we expect him to be competitive from the first race.”

Verstappen will be the youngest driver ever to start an F1 race by almost two years when he makes his debut in the 2015 F1 season. But Marko said Red Bull were not taking a chance by choosing him.

“We are not playing the lottery,” he said. “We know what we are doing. And success proves us right.”

Verstappen has already tested one of Toro Rosso’s F1 cars and will drive for the team in free practice sessions later this year. “He’s in the simulator whenever possible and he’s working on his physique and psychology with top experts,” said Marko.

“Yes, some things became visible that we will have to address for the 2015 season. Having said that, he is getting the perfect ‘schooling’ before he gets on the grid.”

2015 F1 season

Browse all 2015 F1 season articles

Image © Red Bull/Getty

Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

Got a potential story, tip or enquiry? Find out more about RaceFans and contact us here.

Posted on Categories 2015 F1 season, Max Verstappen

Promoted content from around the web | Become a RaceFans Supporter to hide this ad and others

  • 85 comments on “Verstappen is “like Senna” – Marko”

    1. Only time will tell

      1. Obviously he is. Jos was like Schumacher, than Max will Senna. I mean Ralf and Bruno of course. Not Michael and Ayrton.

    2. I am absolutely delighted to see Max into F1 but doubt these kind of statements by Marko is helping him. That is an awful amount of pressure to perform when you are being compared to Senna (beyond doubt in top 5 of best ever F1 driver), like being the youngest driver ever is not already enough pressure.

      1. Not just that, it puts pressure on every single other Red Bull development driver.

        Also, calling someone “the new Maradona”, “the new Hendrix”, “the new Senna” or whatever is NEVER good and the guy NEVER justifies such motto.

        1. @fer-no65, Not just the development drivers even 4xWDC drivers might be feeling vulnerable, and that just may be the subtext.

      2. Err — did you see him stuff it into the wall at this promotional event? New Senna indeed! :-D

    3. Okay Helmut, that’s a big comparison there. I hope for Max’s sake the comparison will not end at ‘straight from Formula three to F1’. Exciting prospects nonetheless!

    4. Wow. As if there wasn’t enough pressure on him already….Helmut Marko’s really going for a “trial by fire” approach with Verstappen, even more than he normally does with drivers. IMO he’s building up expectations of this, let’s be honest, kid, way too high. he’s going to need to really deliver

    5. Helmut Marko logic: He must be good because he went from F3 to F1, just like Senna, so I shall compare him to Senna.

      Let’s just see how he does against Kvyat first…

    6. Formula Indonesia (@)
      24th September 2014, 13:29

      We don’t need words, we need prove. And don’t blame him or everybody if he fail to achieve at least 1 championship

    7. No pressure then!

      I wish Max the best of luck.

    8. 1. What Max has done so far is very impressive. He seems to be one of those drivers who can adapt fast and start extracting every single bit of performance possible (something Seb failed to do early this year).

      2. I don’t really think age should be a huge factor in pro sports. If he can perform at highest level his age does mean anything. The day his age prevents him from performing at the same level as his peers it will be a problem, otherwise it’s not a factor.

      3. Despite his skills and potential failure is not out of the equation. If I was Marko I’d probably put him in GP2 or WSR 3.5 next year and promote either Felix da Costa or Sainz Junior for the Toro Rosso seat.

      But he probably is even better than I think he is so giving him an F1 drive is a risk worth taking…

      1. @jcost – Age as you say shouldn’t be a factor, but experience is a factor, and having not raced in GP2 or FR3.5 he has no experience with higher powered chassis beyond a ten year old Dallara F3 car, which is still designed, both in terms of power delivery and innate balance, to be an entry level chassis. Also, Van der Garde has as good a record in karting as Max, but his career lost momentum as he ascended the ranks below F1: how do we know the same won’t be the case with Max? For me the job interview is far from complete; a season in a car that requires proper modulation of the throttle is necessary before branding him the revelation of a generation.

        Also, is a Toro Rosso drive a risk worth spoiling a potentially excellent talent for? Premature promotion has spoilt countless racing careers via profession perception of a young career, and with little real motorsport experience, how can a seventeen year old be expected to cope under the magnifying class of the world’s media in the most high pressure paddock in the world? Also, is it a risk worth condemning the likes of Sainz and Lynn to the same scrapheap that Bird, Frijns, Da Costa, Wickens and Calado are on?

        1. @william-brierty I agree.

          Like I said, Max is talented and has huge potential but I’d rather give the seat to Felix da Costa or Sainz Jr because, despite his excellent young career, at F1 level, failure is not out of the equation.

          You put it perfectly when you say his lack of experience in more sophisticated single-seaters can be hard to overcome and rushing young talents to F1 can actually destroy a possible star.

          1. @william-brierty @jcost There’s the rub though, right? Lacks experience. The potential for lost momentum. How can he deal with it all? Others now condemned to the scrap heap. Not bad for F1 at all, eh? Especially if it became a trend. Yet, such is the promotion of Max, I’m certainly intrigued, as Marko has not only heaped the pressure on Max, but on himself. You don’t just go around saying what he has said of this guy, so I sure want to see him race, and see Marko put his money where his mouth is.

            I’m not worried for him with respect to having a talent spoiling drive like Torro Rosso, because a ‘Senna’ makes his name by transcending that…doesn’t have to win with it…just impress…in a way we haven’t seen for 30 years.

            1. Just wanted to add, I’m intrigued at Max being the son of an F1 driver from the not all that distant past, which is a significant factor that other current up and comers being mentioned on these posts don’t enjoy, not just with respect to nepotism, but that Max has been raised by an F1 driver and has racing engrained in him in the purest sense from the age of 4. For all that Max hasn’t done yet, he sure has raced a ton and won almost everything he’s entered. I doubt, with simulator work and what car time he will get, that he won’t manage it, and otherwise we’ll only know how well when we know. Max has to experience this in order to show us if he’s a Senna or not. We and he will only know once he’s in it, but he sure is getting praise well beyond the typical.

        2. I disagree, the brakes and gas are all by-wire these days. The computers can manage the “modulation”. As for the comparison, it’s gonna be hard to prove it in a frozen Renault powered car and Vergne is doing a good job against the great Kvyat this year despite not getting all the attention from the team. I think Red Bull are desperate for attention myself. If you can’t win races regularly, bring the hype.

          1. Not true at all. Gas pedal is hydraulically controlled and so are front brakes like they have always been. Rear brakes only are by wire and rear brakes account for about 20 to 30 percent of the stopping power. All the weight in a car goes forward under braking, hence why front brakes do all the workm or 70 percent of it.
            And its not about red bull bringing hype, they hired him to drive fast because someone else would have if they didnt. F1 they dont stand still very long and you dont get the fruit unless you go out on a limb.
            But I still dont think the kid is ready and marko isnt doing him any favors

            1. Torro Rosso were smart I think. Not many drivers get spotted down in Fromula 3.
              Im not jumping the gun and saying he’s gonna be senna standard but he has every chance of beating someone like Chilton who was hopeless.
              They were good doing this as they now have him under contract so he cant be grabbed by another team. The other drivers ( I don’t know their names) must not be that good if he has bypassed them all.

    9. I hope for his sake Marko’s right, or he’ll find his career’s over before he’s 20.

      Kinda feel bad for him now too given the amount of pressure. I think I’d rather arrive quietly and surprise everyone than have a fanfare of comparisons to past greats and struggle to match the hype.

    10. Marko has compared him to Senna. He likens himself to Alonso. This kid is either going to be the greatest thing since sliced bread or a bigger flop than Toyota’s Formula One team.

      1. @craig-o – Do you remember how worried Ferrari were about Toyota? In 2002 they convinced that they were set for years of intense championship battles with a team that ultimately only scored two points in their first season.

        1. Formula Indonesia (@)
          24th September 2014, 14:46

          And never score a single victory

          1. (Continuing the above line of thought) And had the biggest budget of any F1 team by far.

        2. Hey with all due respect to Toyota, back in 02, we were all expecting big things from them. They had half billion in cash, they tested at every track on the calendar and in Olivier Panis, they had one of the best test/development drivers around at the time….no wonder Ferrari were scared.

          1. Their best car never ran – 2009 Toyota was apparently a Brawn beater…

            1. @abbinator No it wasn’t, Toyoto finished fifth in 2009…

            2. @matthijs – Oops, right you are! 😳 red face 😳 I meant 2010 of course and then being a Brawn beater would have been much easier! 😄 D’oh! I stand corrected…

      2. @craig-o MAx was asked if his driving style was like that of his father, he said his driving style was more like Alonso’s.

        That being said, PR-wise it’s been a complete disaster, so far.

    11. However whilst Senna found himself in a glorified F3 car in the shape of the Toleman TG183B at the age of 24 in 1984, Max will be a 17 year old with one of the most technical racing cars in history, faced with taming the immense torque of the new V6 power plants with no previous experience of high powered single seater and under the intense burning spotlight of modern, 24-hour, multi-platform sports media. Opinions are understandably polar on this very divisive issues, with standpoints ranging from the naive hollering of “if you good enough, you’re old enough” through to the increasingly narrow-minded and irrelevant mutterings of Jacques Villeneuve, but the only remotely feasible conclusion to be reached is that he will take an extended period of adjustment before fulfilling his potential; 2015 will be nothing more than a learning year.

      However premature promotion, as in the case especially of Jaime Alguersuari, can inflict untold damage on a young career and the professional perception of a driver, and we can only hope that such an undoubted superstar isn’t compromised by missing out on much needed GP2/FR3.5 experience. Whilst Max himself is to some extent to blame for this for turning down Mercedes’ offer of a fully backed GP2/FR3.5 season in 2015, F1 tests throughout 2015 and a 2016 F1 drive with a Mercedes-powered team (neat replacement for Massa?), but Marko and his merry men share most of the blame for stooping to the ridiculous to counter Mercedes. My angst is not that he is seventeen, or any deeply vague Villeneuve-esque structural gripe about it being “bad for F1”, but merely that it is a move that has compromised the career of not only Verstappen, but of the equally F1 worthy Sainz and Lynn. When Marko inevitably comes under fire next year after the guaranteed early toils Max will suffer, I hope young drivers start to give the Red Bull Junior Team, which is starting to resemble the military meritocracy of a fascistic regime, a very wide birth…

      1. @william-brierty You bring up some very interesting points, especially in the final paragraph. I wonder whether Verstappen’s signing will force other teams to rush drivers into F1, effectively ending any hope that anybody between the ages of 19 and up has of reaching F1. There are plenty of drivers who have impressed me in junior formulae this year who are very young and inexperienced. Whilst it is great to have the speed, it is another thing to be able to have the racecraft from the word go, isn’t that the whole point of Formula Renault, GP2 and other junior categories? It is fine for Verstappen to go up against Esteban Ocon, Tom Blomqvist and Antonio Fuoco and come off better, but does that mean that he will do just as well against Fernando Alonso, Lewis Hamilton, Sebastian Vettel Nico Hulkenberg and Daniel Ricciardo? I don’t think so. But, then again, he could end up ‘doing a Kimi’ and being really, really good from the moment that the lights go out.

        1. @craig-o – The crux of it is I just want the kid to do well, and he might well do a brilliant job and if he ends up “doing a Kimi” I’d happily shut my mouth, but I’d be a lot more confident of him “doing a Kimi” if he had a season of battling the desperate Dans in GP2 under his belt, and I’d be a lot happier if he wasn’t jumping the queue ahead of drivers as good as Sainz and Lynn. Personally, I don’t think this is watershed moment in the F1 junior driver market in terms of a radical departure towards hiring much younger drivers, with Mercedes interested in the 23 year old Merhi, and McLaren apparently not averse to sending the 22 year old Vandoorne off for a second season of GP2 before his inevitable F1 promotion.

          p.s. Loving the way you include Nico Hulkenberg on your list of F1 superstars!

          1. @william-brierty despite his poor run in the last four races, I still consider him to be brilliant ;)

      2. @william-brierty ….and Gasly…

        Why do people ALWAYS forget him?

        1. Yes, I was wondering. If Verstappen is the best thing in the century, surely the driver who is currently beating him (okay… context…) must be something !

          1. Sorry, meant Occon. (who we all really forget !)

            1. Ocon will get there, just by the normal route I’m sure.

        2. @wsrgo – Because it has been proven by Merhi, Vandoorne and of course Frijns that it is possible to make an immediate championship impression in FR3.5, and whilst Pierre has been on the podium plenty of times, he has never really challenged for a victory or been in championship contention. To contradict myself though I would perhaps admit that there are grounds to argue that the Arden FR3.5 car is less than stellar (it lost Da Costa a Toro Rosso drive), with dual victories for DAMS driver Nato certainly proof that the team’s setup of the car is a powerful determinant of the driver’s performance.

          1. @william-brierty Don’t forget age… Gasly is younger than all of those drivers, and Sainz isn’t too old either (it just seems like he has been around for a while).

            The first three are/were all ready and ready to perform, like Ricciardo (who is actually older than Alguersuari), but have so far been passed over for ‘the next big thing’.

            1. @fastiesty – Yes, but Pierre, like Vandoorne, made the step up from FR2.0 to go into FR3.5, and as Stoffel proved that does appear to be one of the easier steps to take on the motorsport ladder. Sainz had half a season of FR3.5 in 2013 which perhaps explains Gasly’s deficit to Carlos, but nothing explains the deficit to Merhi…especially since he drives for Zeta Corse.

              Vandoorne, Sainz, Lynn, Gasly and Merhi are this year’s batch of F1 ready juniors – now watch all of them get ignored.

            2. @william-brierty There is that, but there is also how many years experience in cars you have. That’s why Verstappen is so highly rated. Marko has surmised that he could spend many years at the top, like Hamilton. I’d say not since Hamilton have we seen a spell of dominance like Verstappen, and Hamilton was in his second F3 season as well.

              The problem Max has is if his ‘yips’ years come in F1 – that really could slump his career, like Alguersuari. If not – he’ll do a Kvyat, and be right on the pace until a promotion to RB at around 20.

              Of those drivers you mention:
              Vandoorne – 5th year, every year top 3, better than Hulk and Hamilton. McLaren should give him FP1s and then sign him for Button. 22.
              Merhi – 6th year in single seaters, lost 2 years in DTM, still only 23.
              Sainz – 5th year, similar to Gasly. One ‘yips’ year – 2013. 20.
              Gasly – 4th year, 3 top 3s. Learning year in 2012. 18.
              Lynn – 5th year, similar results to the 3 above. 21.

              I actually think Vandoorne stands out slightly, but I can see why Marko put Gasly into GP2. Having seen how Stoffel did, he can now give Gasly 1.5 years there to see how he matches up. Lynn can also have a year in FR3.5 in 2015, to see how he does in more powerful cars. Then, if Vettel jumps ship for 2016, he can pick the best of those two, or Sainz, if he is still being given a chance/pips Merhi to Caterham/stays on as RB test driver.

              On Merhi.. I read interestingly that he said the team actually do what he asks on the car, hence they moved back to the front of the FR3.5 standings. Does that mean that its primarily his feedback, or that the team were so untrusting before he arrived, that it didn’t matter who gave the feedback….

            3. @fastiesty – The thing with Alguersuari that people forget is that he wasn’t as mediocre as his F1 career suggested, in fact prior to his F1 promotion there was nothing to suggest that he couldn’t have been every bit as good as Ricciardo. Verstappen, like Hamilton, and particularly like Nico Hulkenberg’s 2005-9 period of utter dominance, is showing glimpses of F1 frontrunner material, but what’s stopping him “doing an Alguersuari” without any experience beyond as deliberately under-powered F3 car and without the same learning process as the Ham and the Hulk? Could Max even end up “doing a Grosjean”?

              Nice summary of 2014’s “best in show”! Looking at Vandoorne’s career in more detail does rather pose the question why he hasn’t been doing FP1s, and also raises a question over the longevity of Magnussen’s McLaren career when they have another junior who appears to me to be better. For Gasly and Lynn the future is simple, they will spend 2015 in GP2 and FR3.5 respectively and the best will pick up the pieces at Toro Rosso if Vettel moves on or if Verstappen’s toils are intolerable. For Sainz though, things are not so simple. In all likelihood a costly DAMS seat and half a season in 2013 learning the formula in FR3.5 might not yet yield championship fruit, which I am confident would be the end of Carlos’ association with Red Bull and in turn his F1 hopes. The hypothetical culprit, Merhi, better hope that either Caterham or Marussia are on the grid next year because Mercedes are allegedly ready and waiting with the cash. For me, for Vandoorne and Merhi the battle for F1 promotion is already won…

              NOTE – Those are the none Red Bull drivers…

            4. @william-brierty Indeed, Alguersuari suffered from being placed ahead of a younger driver, Ricciardo, a bit like how Sainz has from being placed ‘ahead’ of Kvyat. A Grosjean is a distinct possibility, as he would be young enough to dominate FR3.5 or GP2 and launch a comeback, should things go wrong.

              @matthijs pointed this blog out to me – http://f1metrics.wordpress.com/2013/08/02/its-a-long-way-to-the-top/ This article discusses what we are discussing. Interesting that it puts Hulkenberg as the best junior, which we back up, and points out “how fast you make it” is a good contender for WDC talent spotting, which is also backed up generally. There’s a good case there for why Ferrari should use a 1-2 Hulk/Bianchi line up!

              Some interesting points – Malvern, who deserved a shot in GP3, is now driver coaching Cullen, who has the cash for the seat there instead. Ellinas is right up there too, along with an SAF3 driver I’ve never heard of, who might be similar to Costa and Guimaraes. Giovinazzi is making waves in F3, while Tuscher and Kirchhofer are proving their worth in GP3.

            5. @fastiesty Thanks for the mention. Based on junior series, Hülkenberg and Frijns should be the next world champions. But that interesting blog also reveals that drivers like Vettel, Alonso and Raikkonen are ranked low because they skipped some steps on the ladder. So this blog reveals no clues about Verstappen becoming a flop or a superstar.

          2. @william-brierty Yes, but the likes of Abt, Regalia, Kvyat etc. have proved that it is possible to do the same in GP3. So that should work against Lynn as well, especially considering that he is in the best team, and that he’s done 2 years of F3 previously.

            1. @wsrgo – Not really. Kvyat won the title purely through Arden making big strides forward on setup over the 2013 summer break, and therein Daniil’s championship margin will be dwarfed by Alex’s (who has been the fastest out there from the outset), and whilst Abt and Regalia got the hang of the car in second half of their respected GP3 seasons, they have been completely hopeless in GP2. I think Lynn shares the podium with Vandoorne and Merhi as the top three drivers of the junior categories in 2014.

      3. Formula Indonesia (@)
        24th September 2014, 14:51

        Well only the best will be picked

      4. +1.

        We will be here to judge. With more or less spicy :)

        1. @william-brierty I’m not sure I get your vehemence against JV when it seems you are going to great lengths to explain example after example of drivers who have benefited from not skipping junior levels, you rue when more deserving drivers get skipped over for ones parachuted in as it makes a mockery of Torro Rosso as an example, and you slam JV for calling what you so loath ‘bad for F1’. I don’t see you disagreeing with JV.

          1. @robbie – Villeneuve criticized Verstappen for his age and somehow found himself predicting a pandemic of teenagers entering F1 (when in fact the two other junior drivers most likely to make the step up, Vandoorne and Merhi, are 22 and 23 respectively), I am criticizing Max for his lack of experience. Had Verstappen managed to cram a season of GP2 or FR3.5 into his young life, I’d have no qualms over his promotion. I also don’t like the implications for the careers of drivers as good as Lynn, Gasly and Sainz; in essence I just want talents as good as all of these drivers, including Max, to be fulfilled, and I don’t think this move facilitates that.

            1. @william-brierty I’d love to read JV’s quotes that you are basing this on, as I cannot claim to have heard or read everything JV has said, but what I did read did not have JV predicting a pandemic, but rather warning that if that were to happen that would be bad for F1. If he has predicted a pandemic then that is hardly ‘vague’ as you have accused him of being.

              JV from what I read has criticized Max’s age in exactly the same way as you…it represents inexperience and a premature promotion. For all we know he could be 19 but without the right things on his CV and JV, and you, et al, would still be critical of what that indicates for today’s F1. There already is huge debate about the trend toward pay drivers that is not new but has escalated in the last decade. It all goes hand in hand in agreement with your and JV’s concern that young drivers should have the proper training because F1 should be that hard, and it is a shame if some drivers get passed over by someone parachuted in.

              I am totally with you on your concerns, and I totally agree with JV, and at the same time I am intrigued about the Max thing because the likes of Marko don’t go around saying what he has willy nilly. If he did, his remarks would have gotten a different reaction and not have been taken seriously. Let’s face it…the reality is most of the time they do not hire a 17 year old with no GP2 or FR3.5 experience, but they do hire drivers with money, which is a sad trend, and they also take young karters such as LH under their wing when they are as young as 12.

              I predict Max is an anomaly and am intrigued to see how he does given his unusual promotion verbally and literally. JV isn’t the only one to have raised concerns about a trend to snatching them up younger and younger so nobody else can get them, so we’ll all be watching. Lynn, Gasly, and Sainz are plenty young enough to get into F1 yet. And even drivers such as they with their CV’s are not guaranteed to have their talents fulfilled.

    12. Good job Marko. Just raise the expectations for a kid who is all ready under more pressure, due to his age, then any other rookie since god knows when. Exactly what he needs, I am sure.

    13. Unlike in this and previous season, in 2015 you can’t babysit the driver, thus a lot more uphill challenge for a rookie driver. Basically this year is the best for rookie to enter the sport because the regulation change means equalizing the field a bit between old and new drivers. Also, like previously said, you can babysit the driver.
      So my prediction is that Verstappen would do much worse than Mag and Kvyat in early races and probably okay-ish races in the 2nd half of the season.

    14. Here we go again… EVERYBODY wants to be Senna… its a joke.

    15. This is hilarious, I remember people saying exactly the same thing about his dad, Jos Verstappen prior to his debut in 1997. People should not make such outlandish statements when not even current race winning f1 drivers are not fit to tie the shoe lases of the likes of Senna, Schumacher etc nonsense……

    16. Well, all I can say to this is LOL!

    17. These affirmations are so painfully stupid and irresponsible, that should be taxed.

      To be like Senna means to achieve what Senna achieved. Which Max didn’t. In fact, the only big thing he did with a F1 car in public was to crash it into a concrete barrier. So, it looks like the kid needs to prove something more then that.
      But, he only has 16 years. He doesn’t know what real life is. He just want to have fun. And drive fast cars. So the question is: who is responsible to protect him? I think the answer is, and beside his parents, is the guy with the big stupid mouth that is shouting that he his a new Senna. And that, for me, is painfully stupid and irresponsible! Should be taxed!

      1. I don’t know if you actually mean “taxed” (as in pay a proportion of monies earned to the government) but I like it!

        The salient feature of young Verstappen’s career thus far that won’t stop leaping out and smacking me in the head every time some F1 elder sings his praises is shunting the RBR car into the concrete barrier! OK, perhaps it really was an honest mistake due to extraordinarily complex controls, but would Senna ever have done that? Senna was exquisitely aware of his and his car’s abilities to an almost supernatural level. I don’t think Marko knows what he’s talking about, but then nothing that has come out of his head so far as convinced me that he does. The guy’s an idiot. Anyway, we will see if MV is all that or not.

    18. And next year there will be a 12 year old who is given a seat because he is an even more “exceptional talent” (and very light). And the year after that an even lighter ten year old… Where do we draw the line? This isn’t swimming, or golf, or even football. People can get killed or seriously hurt.

      And then there is the issue of F1’s credibility. Max’s parents will have to sign his contracts. Is F1 really the “pinnacle of motorsport” when children are competing? He can’t even drive on the road to the circuit. God forbid he is involved in a serious crash – the legalities could be ruinous.

      I wish Max all the best and hope he doesn’t collapse under the weight of expectation and pressure. But with every new development it seems as if F1 is falling deeper and deeper into the mire. The people who run F1 have lost touch with the people who watch F1. The FIA and FOM are desperate to appeal to ever-younger viewers, but no 16 year old can afford to go to a race, and with the races now mostly not on free-to-air TV they won’t even be able to watch an entire season. This shows a distinct lack of joined up thinking. No wonder the sponsors are getting more reluctant to part with the kind of sums they once did. Children don’t buy cars, or motor oil, or most of the stuff sponsors sell. Meanwhile older F1 fans have to watch a sport that is not the man’s game (alas still no women) it once was. F1 increasingly resembles a kind of X Factor competition between boy bands.

    19. I hear Max Verstappen eats ball bearings with racing fuel for breakfast.
      Foe lunch he has left over carbon fibre with Castrol Oil.
      For dinner some Pirelli scraps…

      1. @dutchtreat
        There’s only one breakfast for champions and, depending what country he’s in, he’s only just old enough for that ;-)

    20. Calm down, maybe Marko is referring to Bruno senna

    21. What they fail to mention is Senna went through years of karting, Formula Ford 1600, and Formula Ford 2000.

    22. And regarding his skills behind the steering wheel, he has been racing since he was four years old – professionally.

      Now I cant get the image of four year old Max toddling around in a suit and tie, negotiating contracts etc.

      1. – out of my head

    23. Like Bruno Senna?

    24. Desperation in F1. RBR picked up their new brand face but F1 is declining so why not cliched this thing out even further. F1 drivers aren’t heroes no more and they will never get that status back.

    25. Best wishes to Max Verstappen! Marko, you can be be a dreadful self promoter at times and at the expense of this young driver in this case. There is only one Senna, or Clark, or Schumacher, or whomever. Let him be Max Verstappen and let us all see how he does in his own right. What a ridiculous burden to place on any young driver. Hope Max has the maturity to ignore such hyperbole and just do the best he can.

    26. Get a life Marko…

    27. Obviously a dumb headline grab from Marko.

      Lets see if he can equal Senna by winning a race in his second year, and a WDC in his 5th year.

    28. Phillip C'de Baca
      24th September 2014, 21:49

      the only way this child has anything in common with Senna is the fact that he has two arms two legs and a very young head. I am appalled by that statement. Let him prove himself and then make your comparisons. If he wasn’t Verstappen he would be in the cheap seats watching.

      1. nooo don’t let him prove anything…this is crazy

    29. Too young….blah blah.

    30. Like I care what Marko have to say after all the seasons where Red Bull was walking both championship. Fro me this kid will always stay the kid. Comparing him to Senna or Alonso is just ridiculous. They were/are more than just a very quick drivers… I don’t really like the Red Bull approach to their whole program. Vettel is 4 times WDC and yet I would chose many other drivers before him. They treat this sport like a PR machine and for me both their teams lack the soul of F1.

    31. I see no problem here. Obviously he is not comparing Verstappen to the triple world champion with 41 victories, but to the talent and the prospect Senna was back in 1983-1984. I don’t see why one can’t make such a comparison.

    32. and what if this kid is just the new (Jos) Verstappen?

      ah.. this comparing drivers is so unfair to both the ‘old’ and the ‘new’ ones.

    33. Helmut should really shut up.

      Verstappen hasn’t even officially raced in Formula One and already Senna like? What bull load of crap?

      I could be Senna too, if I pepper Helmut abit.

      1. Like I said, obviously he is not comparing Verstappen to the triple world champion with 41 victories, but to the talent and the prospect Senna was back in 1983-1984. I don’t see why Helmut can’t make such a comparison.

    34. Can’t you guys see what Marko is doing? He is just trying to build hype around this kid and make him a talking point to sell more energy drinks. Nothing more and nothing less. Anyone with any ounce of intelect will know that it is probably one of the most ridiculous thing to compare a 16 year old kid that has yet to drive an F1 car to Senna. Perhaps he meant Bruno Senna. lol

    35. Its too glib to say, if he’s fast enough, he’s old enough, for me, he is too young. There is more to F1 than driving fast, he needs more time learning his craft. Who will take the responsibility if he crashes through youthful inexperience and kills someone.
      I think the FIA should stand up and be counted and step in with a minimum age for a super licence, 17 at the very least, but maybe even 18.

    36. Max is so overrated already it’s just awful.

      1. We’ll wait and see…

        Unless it’s of course Bruno Senna Helmut was talking about.

    Comments are closed.