In the round-up: Max Verstappen’s team manager from his first season in Formula 1 believes his father’s experience as team mate to Michael Schumacher shaped the future world champion’s upbringing.
Watson sees Schumacher’s influence on Verstappens
Graham Watson, who was the team manager at Toro Rosso in 2015 when Verstappen made his grand prix debut, offered some insight into how his father’s F1 career may have influenced him. Jos Verstappen made his F1 debut 21 years earlier at Benetton alongside Michael Schumacher, as a substitute for the injured JJ Lehto, and was usually well off the pace of the team leader.
“I think that Jos felt that Michael Schumacher had better material and was favoured,” Watson told Dutch magazine Formule 1. “I had the impression that Jos had difficulties accepting that, because he also was a very gifted driver.”
Watson believes Benetton team principal Flavio Briatore gave Schumacher preferential treatment, and the elder Verstappen decided his son needed to learn the value of being his team’s top priority.
“Flavio had a strong bond with Michael, both sporting-wise and personal. That’s why I think Jos imprinted on Max very early on, that the first thing that you have to do is destroy his team mates. And we have seen that in recent years.
“It has to be your team, you have to be the man around whom it revolves. I’m convinced that you now also see this with Max: first beat your team mate, then win the title.
“To this day, I don’t think that Jos got a fair treatment at Benetton. And that has partly ensured that Max understands that aspect of the sport very well: he does not need better equipment, he wants the same equipment, Talent will do the rest.”
Madrid GP rumours intensify
Plans to move the Spanish Grand Prix to a street circuit in the capital Madrid could be announced next week, multiple Spanish publications indicated yesterday. Rumours a circuit based on the roads around the Ifema facility, which hosted the inaugural F1 Exhibition last year, have circulated for months.
If the new deal does go ahead it would spell the end for the Circuit de Catalunya on the F1 calendar. It held its first race in 1991 and its current contract expires in 2026.
Pin becomes Mercedes junior
Mercedes has hired 20-year-old French sportscar race Doriane Pin to join its young driver academy. Pin will carry the team’s colours in F1 Academy driving for Prema.
Last year Pin raced in the World Endurance Championship and IMSA series, and finished runner-up to champion Jack Beeton in the Formula 4 South East Asia championship. She lies 10th in the F4 United Arab Emirates championship after last weekend’s season-opening triple-header.
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