Why Verstappen Stands Out in F1, According to Tost: A Brainy and Easygoing Racer. Franz Tost is uniquely positioned to understand what makes Max Verstappen a distinctive force in Formula 1 today.
Verstappen’s Unique Strength in Formula 1
The Austrian was Verstappen’s first team principal in Formula 1 with Toro Rosso and played a pivotal role in nurturing his growth into the driver he is now.
So, what does Franz Tost consider to be Max Verstappen’s main strength today?
For the now-retired Tost, Verstappen’s level owes much to the training provided by his father, Jos.
“His primary strength lies in his ability to sense the track’s grip and his sheer speed.”
“And I believe this is closely linked to his excellent training. Jos taught Max everything he needed during his youth, doing a fantastic job.”
“I’m not sure if Max would have reached the same level without Jos. Yes, he probably would have made it to Formula 1. But would he be as fast and effective as he is today? I have my doubts.”
“After all, the learning process is so crucial for a driver from a young age. Everything you learn between seven and twelve years old is very important in this sport. It helps you get used to everything; it becomes natural, and you don’t have to think about it. Jos raised Max to a very high level.”
“Of course, his successes in karting also played a role in Max reaching this level. And his passion is evident, you see it in the simulator. He sometimes spends hours in sim racing, competing against others: you can only do that if you love this sport. It shows that he lives for racing.”
But doesn’t Max Verstappen still have some weaknesses to work on?
“With experience, one always improves as a driver. Whether it’s qualifying or tire management, there’s always something new to learn. How quickly do the tires heat up, do I need a fast or slow out-lap: you figure these things out through experience. Max has a great feel for the car and the tires.”
“His greatest strength is that driving doesn’t use up all his mental capacity. He’s not just a passenger; he has everything under control. In a race, he knows exactly what the others are doing, their strategy, their speed, how much he’s gaining or losing. Very few drivers possess this gift.”
Another of Max Verstappen’s strengths is his maturity. The Dutchman was also immediately a mature driver, including in front of the press, even at 17, continues Franz Tost.
“Max was very young, that’s true. But we didn’t do things any differently than with other drivers. He received the same normal treatment as any other driver with the capabilities to race in Formula 1. I mean: you’re either capable of driving or you’re not. Of course, there was a challenge for his engineers: they are always specific to a driver. You can’t treat all drivers the same way; there’s no golden rule in this matter. You need to find out what a driver needs, then support and protect them. And this differs from individual to individual.”
“With Max, everything went smoothly, he’s very easygoing. Take that moment with the press at Spa (in 2014) when he was announced as our driver. There was more media presence than for all the other drivers combined that day. But Max handled it well, and in that respect, he learned a lot from Jos.”
“I don’t recall any unexpected issues during his first year with us. Max was already a very complete driver; there was hardly anything new or different that really surprised him.”
And what if Max Verstappen were to leave Red Bull?
Looking back, Franz Tost, who managed Max Verstappen during his first season and a half in F1 with Toro Rosso, is not at all surprised to see the Dutchman reigning in F1 today.
“He is very important for the Red Bull family; he’s our fastest driver. When you have a driver like that, someone so fast, you already have a very important success factor in place.”
But if Max Verstappen left Red Bull? He seems to be increasingly considering an early retirement from F1, possibly even before 2028, judging by his weariness with the sport’s evolution…
“That’s a hypothetical question because he’s driving for Red Bull right now. And I hope he stays with Red Bull for a long time.”
Finally, does Tost see any driver capable of battling Verstappen in the future, in the same car?
“No. If Max continues to have a good car, he will win many more races and titles, regardless of his teammate. He’s still not at his limit and will only get better. No driver who is or will be his teammate will be anything more than a number 2.”
Max Verstappen’s Distinctive Force in F1. Max Verstappen’s Distinctive Force in F1. Verstappen’s Distinctive Force in F1