Max Verstappen’s dad was given stern instruction by Red Bull to enable title success

Max Verstappen prevails in world title shoot-out

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Max Verstappen’s father, Jos, was told to take a step back from his son’s career when he joined Red Bull in 2016, according to AlphaTauri team manager Graham Watson. The Dutchman went on to achieve title glory five years later in 2021, pipping Lewis Hamilton in a timeless Abu Dhabi showdown. 

That victory was not without controversy though, with a ‘miracle’ from FIA race director Michael Masi playing its part in the closing stages. 

When he and Hamilton were brought bumper-to-bumper, however, Verstappen took his opportunity to pounce and seal his maiden crown. 

The triumph came in his fifth full season with Red Bull, prior to which he had been at Scuderia Toro Rosso, now known as AlphaTauri. 

There, Watson claimed that Jos Verstappen played an active role in his son’s development, often clashing with the father of team-mate Carlos Sainz. 

But that supposedly changed when Max made the step up. 

“Only when Max came to Red Bull did they tell Jos that he really had to take a step back,” he told

“I don’t have children myself, but I can well imagine that letting go of your own son is quite difficult.”

Jos Verstappen was an acclaimed driver in his own right, notching two podiums during a nine-year F1 career between 1994 and 2003. 

But his son has already surpassed those achievements, with the whole Red Bull team still marvelling at the dramatic final-lap victory at Yas Marina. 

Not much has been heard from the Hamilton camp, meanwhile, as the Brit continues to recover from painfully missing out on an eighth world title. 

Fans hope that the duo will do battle again this year, although a much-changed car and a brand new Mercedes team-mate in George Russell could change the nature of the duel.

The hunger is unlikely to subside from either side, however, and even with his father having taken a step back, team boss Christian Horner believes that Verstappen is more than capable of handling business on his own. 

“Max is probably one of the most straightforward drivers I’ve worked with, because he’s binary in his approach,” he explained to Channel 4. 

“He appreciates absolute openness and honesty and vice versa. You hear some of his radio transmissions are brutally honest and that’s just the way he is.

“[He’s] very appreciative of the situation that he’s in, but he’s super hungry and he’s so motivated.

“I don’t think I’ve ever met a driver so motivated or so hungry to achieve his goal, his target.”

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