Max in Spielberg: 'We need a lot of luck to win here'

Published on 27 June 2019 by Stefan Meens

Max Verstappen was one of the drivers invited to the FIA press conference ahead of the Austrian Grand Prix this weekend. Last year, Max took the win for Aston Martin Red Bull Racing at their home race at the Red Bull Ring. Max does not fancy his chances repeating that result in 2019. “We will need a lot of luck.”

Once again, there will be tens of thousand’s of Dutch fans in Spielberg to support their compatriot. “There will be a lot of orange, which is great to see. It really brings a smile to my face when driving. Hopefully I can give my fans a good result on Sunday.”

Although Max is driving well this year, the Dutchman finished five out of the first eight races in fourth position, a stat that could lead to frustration. “It’s not what I would call frustrated. We’re not too far off. We’ll have to keep pushing to get more out of our car and the engine. We’re falling short on both fronts. Of course, my goal isn’t to finish fourth; I want to win races. In that respect, fourth isn’t great, bit that’s where we are at. I’ll try to make the most out of it.”

Considering the lack of podiums, how good is this year’s RB15? Max: “During the race in Paul Ricard, we lacked top speed, but in some corners, we also lacked corner speed compared to the Mercedes. Compared to Ferrari, we lose out on the straights, but we’re more competitive in the corners. So, we have to improve on both fronts to return to the podium.”

Max is clearly ambitious, but how patient is he? “To be honest, I’m more interested in the updates the team will bring along. I’m not worried about next year or after that. I’m focussed on this project, which has a huge potential and we’ve only just started it. But, of course, I don’t want to drive in fourth position until I’m 35.”

Recent Grands Prix have led to a lot of talk about the stewards. Should former Formula 1 drivers be hired to judge, perhaps on a permanent basis? “I don’t think it’s good to have the same stewards at every race. If you don’t get on, that’s not going to be fun for long. The problem lies with the regulations; the stewards can’t award anything other than what’s written in the regulations.  Even the ex-F1 drivers must give those penalties so it doesn’t make much of a difference, I think.”

In the wake of the French Grand Prix, a lot of people – journalists, drivers and fans – labelled the race as boring. Has Formula 1 becoming boring? “It’s nice to set track records, but it would be great if we could follow each other more closely on track, even if it means going a couple of seconds slower. But the tyres are also an issue. If you’re too close to someone, they just overheat and can ruin your race. So you should try a different way of generating downforce and help Pirelli develop a better tyre. Finally, I think the differences in engine performance is to big. To close the gap, they should have less complex engines.”

Austrian GP contest: win a 1:43 scale model of Max' victory in Austria 2018!