Max Verstappen is ready to fight for a World title, he just needs the right car from Red Bull Racing, that’s according to Jacques Villeneuve.
Known more for his rent-a-quote criticism of today’s drivers, former World Champion Villeneuve has tackled the topic of Verstappen with Dutch website RacingNews365.
However, instead of lambasting the driver as JV often does, he’s praised the Dutchman for his growing maturity.
So much so that Villeneuve feels Verstappen is now a driver capable of challenging for a Drivers’ Championship title.
“It may be clear that if you are offered the opportunity to race in Formula 1, you take it with both hands,” he said.
“As a young driver you never know what a season in Formula 2 will bring you, so you have to choose Formula 1 when you have the option.
“Max made the right choice by opting for Red Bull.
“That team fits him very well, because they build the team around one driver.
“If he was driving for another team, I don’t think he would be around for long.
“Max has done well in recent years, but let’s face it, he is no longer the driver of three years ago.”
He added: “In the form he is now in, he could compete for the title with a good car.
“That chance may not come to pass this season, but in the coming years I think he’s ready as a person.”
The Canadian added that while other drivers arrive on the grid ready to race having learned their craft in the junior series, it was different for Verstappen as he began in F1 when he was just 16 years old.
“It’s not just my opinion about Max, but about the whole of Formula 1.
“Drivers who enter Formula 1 must be ready to compete immediately. That means that you must have learned a lot in the preliminary phase.
“As far as that Verstappen now, that’s how he should have been when he made his debut in F1, but he got the chance to get in much younger and with less experience and I can understand taking that opportunity because you simply cannot refuse.”
“That worked out well in the end and as a result the team is now completely built around Max. Max would never have managed that with another team.”