“I think we made the right choice”- Max Verstappen rejected Mercedes for Red Bull, claims manager of 23-year-old superstar.
Max Verstappen is touted as the future of Formula 1, the driver, who will dawn his dominance once Lewis Hamilton leaves the sport forever. At the age of 23, the Dutch have already won 10 races amidst the hegemony of Mercedes.
This story could have been different if he hadn’t ignored Mercedes, as revealed by his manager Raymond Vermeulen, who played a crucial role in Verstappen’s entry in Red Bull’s development programme.
“No, I think we made the right choice at the time”, says Vermeulen when he is asked by Motorsport.com whether the Verstappen camp secretly regrets the rejection of Mercedes in 2014.
Mercedes interests in Verstappen peaked at that time, but at the same time, they also clarified that they can’t provide him with an entry in Formula 1 in the following season, which Red Bull gladly offered, courtesy to its sister team Toro Rosso (now Alpha Tauri).
“All three of us (including Jos Verstappen) are still fully behind that”, the manager continues his story. “I think Max has really got a super coaching and also a super preparation for his F1 debut at Red Bull.”
“Once again: we are at Red Bull and feel like a fish in the water. What the future brings is the future, but for now we are very happy with the choices we have made”.
Long commitment but with conditions
With Mercedes soon entering a transitional phase, they would once again come for Verstappen, with him probably being the best driver on the grid at that time.
However, in January, the Dutch signed a long term deal with Red Bull till 2023, yet Verstappen can still launch his exit, as a clause in the contract gives him a free exit, if Milton Keynes based race team fails to achieve certain objectives.
But what made Verstappen sign a contract so long? “At that moment we entered into conversation with Red Bull and – as things often go – you end up in a certain flow.”
“And I think that at that moment, in that period of time, we also made the right decision. The future will show whether that [really] was the right decision, but at least all three of us fully support it,” concludes Vermeulen