Max Verstappen v Jos Verstappen: Who is the dirtier F1 driver?

Thomas Maher
Red Bull's Max Verstappen with father Jos in Abu Dhabi.

Max Verstappen and father Jos sit on the Red Bull challenger.

Max Verstappen has revealed whether it’s himself or father Jos who is the more aggressive behind the wheel.

The two-time World Champion has said that, as aggressive as his own driving style is, he’s not quite as bad as his father Jos.

The elder Verstappen raced in Formula 1 between 1994 and 2003, before concentrating fully on the career of his young son Max.

With Verstappen junior going on to become a generational talent and well on his way to scoring his third successive Drivers’ Championship, he’s become well-known for being a hard-nosed and aggressive racing driver.

But the Dutch racer believes that his level of aggression is nowhere near that of his father, while also revealing that his mother, highly successful karting racer Sophie Kumpen, was far cleaner in her approach.

“They were very different,” he told the UK’s Times.

“My Dad was more aggressive; you could tell it from how he was sitting in the go-kart and the way he was driving. My Mum was more on the clean side.

“That has to do a bit with how much strength you have. I spoke to my Mum about it and sometimes she was struggling a bit for strength; she was small compared to the guys. Then you can’t force the go-kart, you have to find another way.

“I was probably in the middle of the two. I am still aggressive but probably a bit cleaner [than my father].”

Verstappen also revealed that, while he and Kumpen don’t chat F1 to the same extent as he does with his father, Kumpen likes to joke that “maybe your style is more like me”.

The Dutch driver said he takes after his mother more than his dad: “My sister is more like my Dad and I am more like my Mum, more calm. My sister is more of a strong character, fired up.” recommends

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Might Max Verstappen one day race with Jos?

Verstappen has made it very clear he intends to step away from Formula 1 while still young enough to take on racing challenges outside of the sport.

Like grid-mate Kevin Magnussen and his father Jan, Verstappen has hinted at a possible attempt at Le Mans alongside Jos, but said his dad is no longer brimming with confidence the way he once did.

“I want to do it [endurance racing],” Verstappen said.

“It seems at the moment he doesn’t really want to. We are both very competitive. When we compete we want to win. My Dad knows that he’s no longer how he was in his thirties. I think because of that he is a little bit scared — no, not scared — but if he feels that he is the one holding me back a bit, he doesn’t like that.”

Jos has begun dabbling in rallying to re-ignite his racing driver career, and Max believes that if he “works with him, he is still in the window where you can win a race.”

Amusingly, this puts Verstappen in the unusual position of mentoring his father back to racing prowess, in a complete role reversal from when Max was climbing the ladder.

The 25-year-old believes he’d teach Jos in the same way his father taught him: “I would probably react the same way to him — because that’s how we communicated all the time with each other and we know we can take it from each other. That’s why it works so well.

“I already had a few test days with him in GT3 cars. You go through the data [afterwards] and you see a few corners where he is lacking. I’m like, ‘Why are you slow there? Why are you lifting? Come on, pull your finger out.’ These are fun days together.”