Red Bull over Mercedes was right choice for Max

Jamie Woodhouse

Red Bull over Mercedes still the right choice says Max Verstappen's manager.

Max Verstappen’s manager Raymond Vermeulen says choosing Red Bull over Mercedes back in 2014 remains the correct choice.

Back in the summer of 2014 Verstappen began attracting the interest of both Red Bull and Mercedes with both outfits wanting to add the Dutch prospect to their respective junior programmes.

But in the end Verstappen went with Red Bull, completing a test with the team and six days later being confirmed as a Toro Rosso driver for the 2015 season.

At the 2014 Japanese GP, Verstappen became the youngest driver in Formula 1 history to take part in a free practice session, while at age 17, come the 2015 season-opening Australian Grand Prix, he broke the record for youngest driver to take part in a World Championship race.

Since winning his first race on debut for Red Bull at the 2016 Spanish Grand Prix, Verstappen has gone on to become a 10-time race winner, but, considering the fact Mercedes have wrapped up seven Drivers’ and Constructors’ Championships in a row since 2014, did Verstappen’s representatives Vermeulen and Jos Verstappen steer him in the right direction?

Well, Vermeulen was clear that Red Bull was and remains the best place for Verstappen to be.

“I think we made the right choice at the time. All three of us are still fully behind it. At Red Bull I think Max really got super guidance and also a super preparation for his F1 debut”, Vermeulen told Netherlands.

“Once again: we are at Red Bull and we feel like a fish in the water. What the future brings is the future, but for now we are very happy with the choices we have made.”

And Vermeulen also believes the decision for Verstappen to sign a new deal with Red Bull until 2023 was also the right decision at the time back in January 2020.

“At that point we started talking to Red Bull and – as things often go – you end up in a certain flow. And I think that at that moment, in that period, we also made the right decision,” said Vermeulen.

“The future will show whether that was [really] the right decision, but at least all three of us are fully behind it.”

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Once the new regulations come into Formula 1 for 2022, Red Bull will arrive not only with a completely new car, but also perhaps a new engine.

Honda have confirmed already that they will leave Formula 1 at the end of 2021, though Red Bull’s preferred route for the future is to take over Honda’s IP and continue with that engine under a freeze on development across all manufacturers.

“Of course Red Bull’s management will keep us well informed about where things stand, where they want to go and also what the ultimate ‘target’ is,” Vermeulen explained.

“That process is ongoing. First we have another great season to go with Honda. What’s on the shelf for the engine, we are very positive about that.

“But of course we are also very interested in what will happen from 2022 onwards. That game is now on the car, so we are keeping our finger on the pulse. They also deal with it very openly and transparently with Max.

“We are waiting patiently for that to happen and are confident that it will come to a successful conclusion.”

And if Red Bull do go down the route of taking over Honda’s power units, then Vermeulen has every confidence in the team.

“Do we have confidence in those plans? Yes, because let’s face it, if Red Bull is going to put their backs into something, they’re going to do it well. Even with our own F1 team,” he said.

“If they would take on the Honda project, then I have every confidence in them.”

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