Jos Verstappen marches back in to the Red Bull garage | thejudge13

The father of the current Formula One champion, Jos Verstappen, is once again making waves as he was pictured arriving in Monaco late yesterday. The journeyman F1 driver is the second most successful Dutch competitor the sport has seen, only outranked by his son. Jos competed in 107 Grand Prix, achieved two podiums as his best results, and racked up a total of 17 championship points (117 in the modern system) with a highest finishing slot of 6th at the 1994 Belgian Grand Prix.

Jos is the second most successful Dutch driver in F1, out ranked only by his son, but his biggest claim to fame came at the 1994 German Grand Prix when during a pit stop a refuelling rig fault caused a leak with the result his car was engulfed in flames for several seconds. As is the case with F1 drivers, Jos had opened his visor for some fresh air at the stop and so the resulting burns from the inferno were restricted mostly to his nose.

 

 

 

Max’s dad first drive an F1 car was when he tested for the lowly footwork arrows team alongside Gil de Ferran and Christian Fittipaldi at the Estoril circuit in Portugal. The jump in power from the F3 car he had been competing in (175 BHP to 750 BHP) appeared not to phase the Dutchman as he set a time that was just 0.07 seconds slower than Derrick Warwick who was the regular driver for the team.

This would have placed him tenth on the grid at the preceding Portuguese Grand Prix and in his subsequent test he was lapping close to the lap record before the first of his many crashes in an F1 car. Jos pretty much moved teams every year during his F1 career beginning at Benetton which was the best car he ever drove. 

In 1995 he moved to the back of the field Simtech team then switched again to Footwork Arrows the following year before another move in 1997 to Tyrell where he scored no points but ran a best of P6 during the Canadian GP. Without a drive for the 1998 season, Jos was forced to beg for a test with his old Benetton team but his results were poor and they refused to hire him again.

Eventually a door opened at the Stewart F1 outfit that year as Jos replaced the underperforming Jan Magnussen but his results were no better than his predecessor and he was replaced by Johnny Herbert the following season.

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Jos could talk the talk and he created an opportunity for himself the in 1998 when he became the first test driver for the newly conceived Honda F1 project. He teamed up with old Tyrrell friends Rupert Manwaring and the legendary Harvey Postlethwaite, planning to test the new car in 1999 and join the series in 2000. All went well for the operation, with the testing times being competitive when with upper midfield teams such as Benetton and Williams but the project came to a sudden halt when Postlethwaite died of a sudden heart attack.

Scratching around for an opportunity, Jos tested for the Jordan team who suspected Damon Hill was to announce a surprise retirement, but his performance was underwhelming and Hill decided to see out the rest of the season. A return to Arrows saw Jos finally get a two season contract, but again he was released and served his final year with the Paul Stoddart Minardi team in 2003 (now the RB Visa Cash App outfit).

In today’s world, Jos would never had got an F1 drive. He had neither the money or the talent but his greatest achievement was grooming his son in becoming the fastest racing driver on the planet along but this came with a raft of controversial opinions. When Christian Horner was falsely accused of ‘controlling’ behaviour towards a female employee, Jos lost the plot going public claiming his behaviour would ‘tear apart’ the Red Bull Racing team, which Horner had built from the ashes of the form er Jaguar F1 outfit.

Unsurprisingly, Jos has not been welcome in the Red Bull trackside facilities for several races this year, but he has returned ahead of the F1 jewel in the crown Monaco Grand Prix. Cleared of any impropriety following a lengthy investigation, Christian Horner is clearly attempting to calm troubled waters by inviting Jos back into the Red Bull  fold.

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“The team is in danger of being torn apart. It can’t go on the way it is. It will explode. He is playing the victim, when he is the one causing the problems,” was the claim by Jos, in Bahrain this year. Yet for now Horner is innocent until proven guilty and the entire sorry saga at Red Bull appears to be a set up for those who wanted Horner out so they could claim a more high profile role in the F1 team.

The leaked email sent to senior F1 paddock folk with screen shots of WhatsApp conversations between Horner and the female employee is believed to be from the hand of Jos and it has been suggested the retirement of legendary F1 car designer Adrian Newey after 18 years with the team is all part of Jos’s doing.

With Red Bull having lost more races to the competition this season than during the entire of 2023, all eyes will be on the Red Bull garage this weekend in Monaco, the place of the infamous Lewis Hamilton outburst who claimed victimisation from the stewards because ‘I is black.’

Jos is a controversial character and speaks his mind freely, so the focus point of the paddocks attention in Monaco will be on the journeyman F1 driver who created the mega star that is Max Verstappen.

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Money makes the world go round, so they say, and in the case of Formula One the money is billions of dollars a year in profit for the American giant corporation Liberty Media. Now in their eighth year since acquiring the commercial rights for the sport, Liberty are ramping up their income with the addition of new race promoters who often are prepared to pay double the hosting fee of the traditional European circuits.

Many of the new F1 venues are in non-democratic countries where the local population has no interest in motorsport and has no tradition of competitive racing. With F1’s global audience of 500 million, it is the third most watched sport in the world behind the Olympics and the Soccer World Cup and the likes of Saudi Arabia and others are using it as a vehicle to push a growth in tourism to replace their oil revenues which will disappear over the next several decades…. read more

 

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