Red Bull technician Calum Nicholas believes newly crowned three-time World Champion Max Verstappen does not get the credit he deserves, claiming it is “odd” that others struggle to recognise his talent.
Verstappen secured his third successive title in the Qatar Grand Prix sprint race last weekend before claiming his 14th victory of the F1 2023 season the following day.
With five rounds remaining, the Dutchman is now just one win away from equalling his own 2022 record of 15 wins in a season and has now won 39 of the last 61 races stretching back to the start of his maiden title-winning campaign in 2021.
Max Verstappen ‘brilliant’ to work with at Red Bull
Appearing on the Sky F1 podcast, Nicholas was full of praise for Verstappen’s demeanour in and out of the car – and admitted he is baffled that the 26-year-old’s achievements have not been more widely recognised.
He said: “I’ve always thought this: it’s odd to me that people can’t see sometimes how brilliant he is.
“When he’s in the garage, when he’s not in a race car, he’s one of us. He really is. He engages with us just as you want any of your other colleagues to engage with you.
“He’s kind, he cares about the people around him and it’s brilliant.
“And I like the fact that he can get into the car and close his lid and then he should be ruthless. You’re a sports person: we’re here to win, he’s here to win and I think it’s great that he’s able to switch between the [two] and he really does.
“It seems to be his nature that he will just chase every last bit; he will leave nothing on the table.
“It’s great to have [and] it puts the pressure on us to make sure that we deliver, which is great. The nature of the people in the garage, we thrive on that pressure. It’s what drives us. We want to be the best every single week.
“But watching what Max has done week in, week out and [it’s great] having the knowledge every week that as long as we do our job and the car is reliable and it does what he needs it to do, I know he’s going to deliver.
“You go into a race weekend and it’s nice because – and I’ve always said this – it doesn’t matter where you are in the pit lane, it doesn’t matter what garage you’re in, you’re doing the same hours.
“Everybody’s working such long hours, even a Saturday or a Sunday can be a 16-hour day easily, so it’s nice to know that you’ve got everything in place, that you you’ve put yourself in the best position to get a result from that work.”
Nicholas spoke of his pride at playing a part in Red Bull’s achievements, with the team winning a Drivers’ and Constructors’ Championship double for the sixth time in their history in 2023.
He explained: “Look at Max: he goes out there every week, and he delivers and then obviously that puts the pressure on everyone else – us at the circuit, all of the people working back in Milton Keynes – to make sure that we deliver for him.
“He will deliver on whatever we give him, so if we give him the right product we know we’re in a good place.
“For me, it’s always been an amazing thing to be this tiny little part of what turns out to be this great achievement and just knowing that you played a little role, other jobs that you do throughout the year have played a little part of making the success happen.
“So it’s quite nice, it makes me extremely proud.
“In some ways, it’s quite humbling when you realise the scale of what you achieve every year, the thousands of people working towards a goal.
“It’s quite nice to just see yourself as this tiny little cog in it.”