Eddie Jordan: ‘Max Verstappen will become the greatest F1 driver of all time’

Michelle Foster
Red Bull driver Max Verstappen at the Miami Grand Prix. Miami, May 2023.

Red Bull's Max Verstappen at the Miami Grand Prix. Miami, May 2023.

With another five years to run on his Red Bull contract, Eddie Jordan believes Max Verstappen could become the greatest driver of all time.

The 25-year-old is potentially already on his way to a third successive Drivers’ Championship title, he only needs to beat Sergio Perez and the 2023 title will be his.

He is, though, still a long way off the two biggest records in Formula 1 – most wins, held by Lewis Hamilton with 103 to Verstappen’s 38, and most World titles, which is jointly held by Hamilton and Michael Schumacher at seven.

But with Verstappen committed to Red Bull through to the end of 2028 and little sign of any of Red Bull’s competitors mounting a challenge any time soon, Jordan reckons the Dutchman could become the greatest of all time.

Speaking on the ‘Formula For Success’ podcast, the former F1 team boss said: “Then you have somebody as quick naturally as Max.

“For me, I really do believe in time he will turn out to be the greatest driver of all time subject to, fingers crossed, that he will be safe and well for a very long time.

“He has such a phenomenal attitude in the car.

“He’s aggressive when he needs to be aggressive, he’s tough when he needs to be tough, but he’s clever as well, he knows how to look after the car.

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“Another thing in his favour, he has to hope – particularly after the death of Dietrich Mateschitz of Red Bull – that the team stays as strong as it is.

“With the people like Christian [Horner] and Adrian Newey there, I see no real problem in the short term and I see Max going from strength to strength.

“I would not like to be a driver in Formula One at the moment hoping to become a World Champion because I don’t know where it’s going to come from.”

However, his fellow pundit David Coulthard reckons in time there could be a few challengers in Lando Norris, George Russell and Charles Leclerc while the sport’s elder statesmen Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton are also in the mix.

That of course depends on whether or not their teams design a race-winning car.

“I think Formula 1 is in a great place right now with a number of of young guys, all sort of mid 20s, you’ve got the Landos and Georges and Charles and Maxs and whoever else I’m missing out of that group right now,” said the former F1 driver.

“And then at the other end you’ve got Fernando and Lewis as the elder statesmen.

“But we have a generation of drivers in their mid 20s that for the next decade are going to be trying to fight it out. And basically any one of those guys who get their hands on a race-winning car has a chance to challenge Max.

“Challenging Max in the same team is going to take somebody mighty, a superhuman effort, because Max is just he’s a machine isn’t he?

“He’s been groomed in the nicest way of that expression in terms of being on racetrack from an early age, both parents have been racers, and he’s assertive, strong willed and more than capable.”

Jordan agrees with the Scot that Russell is in the mix, the 75-year-old conceding his earlier opinion of Russell when he first joined Williams was wrong.

“I got it wrong with with George,” he said. “I got it wrong. I saw him in the Williams and I thought, are they really gonna sign him? Is that really what’s gonna happen?

“He absolutely blew me away. He did. And full marks, hands up. I got that wrong. I never thought he would do what he’s doing. And I never thought that he would be beating Lewis.”

He also weighed in on whether or not Daniel Ricciardo, said to be waiting in the wings at Red Bull should Sergio Perez get the boot, could do the job as well as Perez has done this season with the Mexican driver taking two wins to sit 14 points behind his double World Champion team-mate.

“I’ve gone through this on a number of occasions,” he replied, “and I actually think Daniel Ricardo is there but there’s no way Daniel is going to do the job that Checo’s doing in my opinion, having seen what Daniel has done.

“As much as we liked the guy who’s just a fabulous person to be around but Checo is doing a magic job.”