Jos Verstappen says that the choice for his son to race in Formula 3 this season has been made to better prepare him for 2015.
Sixteen-year-old Max Verstappen had planned to graduate from karting into Formula Renault this year, and proved extremely quick in post-season tests in 2013 with Tech 1 Racing and Josef Kaufmann Racing. But Verstappen Jr.’s maiden F3 test at Valencia, with German F3 squad Motopark, prompted the decision to bypass FRenault.
“He did most of his testing in Formula Renault,” said Verstappen Sr. “I must say that it all went very well, but he did one test in F3 and straight away it felt very good.
“The way it handles, the downforce, the brakes and the grip level suited Max very well, and that’s why we made the decision to do this to prepare for the year after. Maybe an F3 car is more difficult to adapt to, but as soon as I saw him in one I could tell it suited him more than a Formula Renault.
“Van Amersfoort Racing can prepare him very well for the year after, and better to do that year of learning in an F3 car.”
MERCEDES SHOWED INTEREST
Verstappen also confirmed rumors that Mercedes was hoping to do a deal to run his son, who will instead line up with Volkswagen power at VAR.
“My right-hand man Raymond Vermeulen [who managed Verstappen in F1] was with Toto Wolff [Mercedes sports boss] and they had discussions about Max. He was keen to help but our decision to do F3 was a little bit too late. I’m sure they will keep watching him, but first he needs results.”
The ex-Formula 1 driver also explained why overtures from teams in British and German F3 were rejected.
“Raymond was with Carlin – their team for Europe was full but they tried to persuade him that Max should do British F3,” said Verstappen. “We were also looking at German F3, but we want Max to learn the tracks to prepare even better for next year.
“For sure he will make mistakes, but he is allowed to make them. It’s a steep learning curve but I’m sure he can handle it.”
Verstappen hinted that he hopes to be able to stand back and allow his son to learn, without playing the ‘racing dad’ as he hopes to guide his son to F1, where he raced with the likes of Tyrrell (TOP) in the 1990s and early 2000s.
“This is all about Max, and I just want the very best for him,” he said.
2014 F3 European lineup so far:Prema Powerteam Antonio Fuoco; Esteban Ocon; Dennis van de Laar; Nicholas Latifi Mucke Motorsport Lucas Auer; Roy Nissany; Felix RosenqvistCarlin Jordan King; Tom Blomqvist; Antonio Giovinazzi; Sean Gelael; Ed Jones; Jake Dennis Fortec Motorsport
tba T-Sport Spike Goddard; Alexander Toril Van Amersfoort Racing Gustavo Menezes; Max Verstappen Double R Racing
tba EuroInternational Riccardo Agostini; Michele Beretta; Santino FerrucciMa-Con
tba URD Rennsport
tba Jo Zeller Racing
tba Signature Oscar Tunjo Team West-Tec Felix Serralles Italicised drivers still tbc