Red Bull’s Max Verstappen has stated that when he was younger he didn’t know that he wanted to be a Formula 1 driver, saying it's not 'everything' for him unlike his father and ex-F1 racer Jos.
While racing at the top seems to be what the reigning world champion was destined for, it wasn’t always the case. A young Verstappen grew up in the shadow of his F1 racing father, Jos, who he admitted pushed him to one day follow in his footsteps of reaching the pinnacle of motorsport.
“When I was four years old I didn’t know that I wanted to be a Formula 1 driver, it was just enjoying driving and having fun. At one point I think you find your passion and then it’s about your parents of course supporting you but not pushing you to do it, because otherwise it will catch up to you.
"You will do it for a few years because your parents like you to do it, but if it’s not your real passion at one point it will come out.”
“Of course, sometimes I needed to be pushed in terms of understanding how serious it was, what we were doing, but the passion needs to come from within yourself.”
With the importance of mental toughness in modern sport, Verstappen exhibits a natural ability to confront the pressures of F1. This comes from his realisation that for him motorsport isn’t the be all and end all.
“F1 is of course a big part of my life but it’s not everything. I don’t need to be constantly thinking about it to perform. I know when to switch back on and when to switch off.”
This relaxed attitude has allowed him to exude confidence both on and off the track. However, as Verstappen explains, he doesn’t share this approach with his father, who instead is much stricter.
“I just enjoy what I’m doing. I’ve been doing it now for a few years. I don’t really make myself crazy or put a lot of questions in my head. I just go with the flow. This really works for me.
"Back in the day, I had quite a few arguments with my dad about it. He felt that I was too relaxed about it. He wanted me to be more on top of things. I think I learned a lot from having the conversations with him, but I’m still pretty much the same. I think my dad is more hyped up [in the lead up to a grand prix] than I am.”
GPFans is a multi-platform, multi-language brand dedicated to Formula One coverage. We bring you all the ins and outs of the sport, 24/7, everything from up-to-the-minute news and features to the latest viral stories and clips.
We believe that a new generation of exciting, outspoken drivers will make F1 more popular than ever before, and we want to give our users access to as much of their heroes as possible, on and off the track. From Lewis Hamilton to Max Verstappen, Daniel Ricciardo to Sebastian Vettel, we provide in-depth analysis of every every Grand Prix in the season, from Australia to Abu Dhabi.
With Formula One under the new ownership of Liberty Media, how the sport is being covered is evolving, and GPFans will look to be at the heart of this progression into new media, as one of the fastest-growing sites covering the king of motorsports.