Horner: Verstappen unfazed by success, fame or wealth

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For all his steam rolling success in Formula 1, Max Verstappen has always preserved his authenticity and humility, earning along the way the admiration of his Red Bull team principal, Christian Horner.

Verstappen's journey to stardom has been anything but ordinary.

Red Bull motorsport advisor Helmut Marko spotted early on what he perceived as an extraordinary potential in the son of former F1 driver Jos Verstappen and recognized the teenager as a future Formula 1 champion.

Verstappen was promoted to the big time in 2015 with Scuderia Toro Rosso at the record young age of just 17 years and 5 months, the Dutchman winning his first Grand Prix just a year later in his first race with red Bull Racing.

Fifty-three wins and three world championships later, Horner highlights Verstappen’s remarkable talent and unwavering dedication while also praising his driver for maintaining his genuine persona, unfazed by fame or fortune.

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Th Briton is also appreciative of the 26-year-old’s willingness to express his opinions without conforming to stereotypes, a testament to his true character.

“The great thing is he hasn’t really changed since joining us as an 18-year-old,” Horner told Sky F1 recently.

“Of course, he’s matured and he’s a young man now, but that enthusiasm, that determination, that grit, phenomenal car control and natural ability - none of that has changed.

“None of the fame or the wealth has gone to his head. He’s still the same guy.

“He’s still very popular in the garage. He keeps himself to himself, he will talk his own mind, he will tell you what he thinks, he’s not trying to be a stereotype.

“He is who he is. I think you have to have a lot of respect for that. He has the benefit of experience now which he’s using extremely well.”

For 2024, given Red Bull’s technical advance over its rivals, all signs point to Verstappen continuing to rake in the wins, although hopefully – for the sake of Formula 1 – amid a more disputed competition.

Nevertheless, despite his enduring success, Horner is convinced that Verstappen will not overstay his welcome in the sport, and is very unlikely to match the longevity of F1’s current senior citizens, Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton.


“He’s a competitive guy,” Horner added. “The calendar is grueling, he’s 26 years of age. You’re looking at drivers who are 42, he probably can’t imagine himself driving for that length of time.

“I doubt he will. I think Max knows his own mind, he’s his own person.

“He has his own strength of character and I think while he’s motivated and committed he will continue in F1.

“I think if he loses that motivation, I don’t think he would stay around that long. Will he be racing when he’s 42? I very much doubt it.”

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