Max Verstappen has called for fans to “come up with something a bit more fun” as a meme after reiterating his dislike of podcasts following his Japanese Grand Prix victory.
With Verstappen on the podium at all but one race in F1 2023, the scenes in the post-race cool-down room have been branded ‘the Max Verstappen podcast’ by fans online, likening the Red Bull driver’s fellow competitors to a cast of rotating guests.
Ahead of the podium ceremony at Suzuka, McLaren driver Lando Norris made reference to the meme in conversation with Verstappen as the pair, along with third-placed Oscar Piastri, sat to watch the highlights of the race. Verstappen responded with laughter before remarking: “I don’t even like podcasts!”
Max Verstappen set to clinch F1 2023 title in Qatar
Asked in the post-race press conference about the meme, Verstappen said: “I don’t even know who came up with that because I don’t even like podcasts, they make me fall asleep. So I don’t know.
“Maybe we can call it something different. Or come up with something a bit more fun.”
The Dutchman went on to say he enjoys the ambience of the cool-down room at the end of the race as the top-three drivers react to how their day unfolded – but admitted he is mindful of the presence of television cameras in that situation.
“It’s nice,” he added.
“I think it’s natural when you see some footage of the race and you talk about it as drivers too quickly when you see some shots. Nowadays everything gets recorded. Unfortunately when the camera’s there [you] can’t say everything you want to say.”
Norris went on to tweet the meme himself after the race, describing Suzuka 2023 as “the best episode of the Max Verstappen podcast.”
Having clinched his 13th victory of 2023 in Japan, Verstappen is now in a position to clinch his third successive World Championship at the next round in Qatar.
A sixth-place finish in the sprint race in Losail will be enough for the Red Bull man to take the title, with Verstappen likely to be crowned World Champion on a Saturday.
After his 10-race winning streak ended in Singapore, Verstappen was irresistible at Suzuka by claiming pole position by six tenths and winning the race by almost 20.
The 25-year-old’s commanding performance was hailed by Red Bull advisor Helmut Marko, who believes Verstappen’s tyre management is now on a par with peak-level Lewis Hamilton.
“[Verstappen] has improved his speed and he goes on with such ease and drives so well,” Marko told Sky Germany. “He’s also gotten even better with his tyre management. He’s fast and can control his tyres the way Hamilton used to.”