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‘Unfair Treatment’ to Jos Verstappen by Ex-Michael Schumacher Boss Propelled Max Verstappen to Destroy Teammates

Sabyasachi Biswas

‘Unfair Treatment’ to Jos Verstappen by Ex-Michael Schumacher Boss Propelled Max Verstappen to Destroy Teammates

Max Verstappen’s massive dominance in the Red Bull F1 team is known to all. However, there’s an underlying story behind this, and Graham Watson believes it is none other than his father Jos Verstappen’s trauma from his racing days alongside Michael Schumacher. Watson believes it to be a probable reason why Verstappen Sr. framed his son’s mentality this way right from the start.

Things go back to Verstappen Sr’s Benetton days with Schumacher when the Dutchman failed to be the first priority of his team. He failed to stand next to Schumacher in the 1994 F1 season even though he was a gifted driver from day one. In the end, the German driver picked up his first-ever F1 world championship that year with 92 points. Whereas, Verstappen Sr. only claimed 10 points and raced in only 10 races out of 16 GPs.

Therefore, he did not want the same ‘unfair treatment’ to happen and, as a result, trailed his son in a whole different way. Speaking about this, Watson, who worked with Verstappen Jr in Toro Rosso in 2015, said to Formule 1, “I think that Jos felt that Michael Schumacher had better material and was favored. I had the impression that Jos had difficulties accepting that because he also was a very gifted driver.”

Following this, he added on Verstappen Jr, who is now the favorite driver at Red Bull, “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 teammates. And we have seen that in recent years.”

Notably, Watson believes Schumacher’s relationship with the then-Benetton boss Flavio Briatore to be a reason for Verstappen Sr’s trauma. The Dutchman believed that the duo shared a great relationship and therefore, it was easy for Schumacher to drive the Benetton B194, which resulted in him acquiring better results.

As a matter of fact, Briatore was the man who lured the seven-time world champion to Benetton from Jordan in 1991. Eventually, this made Jos Verstappen frame his mind to create a beast in the name of Max Verstappen who destroyed every teammate he had so far. The list starts with Carlos Sainz, Daniel Ricciardo, Pierre Gasly, and Alex Albon and it doesn’t end with Sergio Perez.

How is Perez faring against Verstappen in Red Bull?

Red Bull brought Sergio Perez to partner Max Verstappen in 2021 and it made no difference in the team order. The Dutchman remained the dominant figure in the team, while Perez found it hard to have his footing in the team.

The first season went as a supporting driver for Perez and they got along well. However, things turned sour in the 2022 Sao Paulo Grand Prix when Max Verstappen refused to let the Mexican driver pass. This resulted in Perez to challenge the Dutchman for the championship in 2023.

The first four races went evenly for both of them, and they were at par in terms of points. From the fifth race in Miami, things changed drastically for the three-time world champion. The 26-year-old absolutely demolished his teammate by claiming 19 wins against Perez’s two wins.

It was so devastating for the Mexican driver that his seat in Red Bull came under threat. Nevertheless, Sergio Perez was able to keep his seat in 2024. However, according to Christian Horner, the Red Bull team principal, the second seat of his team is all open for the 2025 F1 season.

About the author

Sabyasachi Biswas

Sabyasachi Biswas


Sabyasachi Biswas is an F1 journalist at The SportsRush. With over one and a half decades of love for the sport and five years of experience in the field, he dreams to be a regular at the paddock when the lights go out. A Red Bull fan and F1 fan in general over the years, he enjoyed watching Felipe Massa, Sebastian Vettel, and Max Verstappen dominate the track. Apart from F1, he's also a big-time Madridista and Federer fanatic. He was a sub-junior level footballer, won inter-district quizzes and debate competitions back in school. A travel freak throughout, he tries different cuisines and learns new cultures whenever he's away from the keyboard.

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