Max Verstappen released to take part in F1 ‘hobby’ at Imola by Team Redline

Michelle Foster
Max Verstappen in the Red Bull garage at the 2024 Miami Grand Prix.

Red Bull driver Max Verstappen.

Team Redline have joked they won’t stop Max Verstappen from doing his “hobby” of F1 racing as the Dutchman left the 24 Hours of Nurburgring sim race to line up on pole position at F1’s Emilia Romagna Grand Prix.

Although many drivers have complained in the past about busy Grand Prix weekends, Verstappen took it to a new level at Imola when the Dutchman dovetailed his Formula 1 commitment for Red Bull with his sim passion for Team Redline.

‘We’re very supportive, we’re never going to hold people back’

Contesting the 24 Hours of Nurburgring for the IRacing series, Verstappen jumped from real-world racing to sim racing on Saturday and back again on Sunday.

Speaking to De Telegraapf prior to the busy 24 hours, he revealed there will be “four of us ‘sitting’ in the car. I’ll probably do two stints between two and four hours.

“I have to go to bed on time and get my hours to start Sunday well rested,” he added.

But while he didn’t feel the need to ask Red Bull for permission, he also didn’t ask his fellow racers as he let them know on Sunday morning that it was time to say goodbye.

Verstappen: I have to go.
TR: What do you have to do today? WTF, it’s Sunday!
Verstappen: Yeah, exactly

Team Redline joked about giving the reigning F1 World Champion permission to head off to do his “hobby” of F1 racing.

“We are the team that allows him to express himself in F1. We allowed him to still do Imola, because we are that kind of team,” said Team Redline’s Luke Crane.

“We don’t want to ever stop our drivers from doing their hobbies. We’re very supportive, we’re never going to hold people back.”

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The good news for Verstappen is that his team was leading the race when he walked away.

Even his fellow F1 drivers were keen to know the result with Esteban Ocon asking him as he arrived in the paddock if he’d won.

“We’re leading it,” Verstappen replied.

Verstappen will be hoping for another victory on Sunday when he lines up on the Imola grid in Imola position ahead of Lando Norris.

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