Jos Verstappen, the father of Red Bull Formula 1 ace Max, has downplayed his son’s chances of challenging for this year’s Drivers’ championship, saying a 2018 title bid is more realistic.
After taking the sport by storm in 2015, the Dutch teenager followed it up with another remarkable campaign where he became F1’s youngest-ever race winner and secured another seven podium finishes.
With Red Bull tipped to emerge as a genuine challenger to Mercedes under the 2017 aero rules shake-up, Verstappen has been seen as a potential contender for the top prize.
But his father, who took 106 F1 starts between 1994 and 2003, insists it is still too soon.
“Last year Max won in Spain, so hopefully he can win more races this year,” the 44-year-old told Dutch broadcaster Ziggo Sport Totaal. “I would like to see three or four, and I think it's possible," .
"Of course there is talk of a world title, but my personal opinion is that it is still a year too early.”
Max himself previously said he was “absolutely ready” to fight for the title in 2017.