Max Verstappen Chose to Follow His Dad’s Footsteps
Max Verstappen's path to glory began when he was a child, when his dad Jos Verstappen, who was an F1 driver between 1994 and 2003, introduced him to go-karting.
Max's natural talent, combined with his father's advice and mentorship, propelled him to European and world go-kart championships, which led to his move to Formula 3 in 2014.
A year later, at the age of 17 years and 166 days, he became the youngest Formula One driver in history when he competed with Red Bull's sister team, Toro Rosso, in the Australian Grand Prix.
Max is known for his aggressive driving and outspoken comments. The young Dutchman has admitted that his attitude stems from his father.
He paid tribute to his dad following his victory last year, which saw him win his first championship after controversially overtaking Lewis Hamilton on the final lap of the season's final race.
How Did Max Verstappen's Dad Mentor Him?
Max’s dad, nicknamed “the Boss,” is a former F1 driver with a violent past. He always had a brutal determination towards the career growth of his son.
“Especially also my dad, some of the special moments we had here. All the things come to your mind, all the years we spent traveling for that goal, and then everything comes together in the last lap. It’s insane.” told Max The Sun.
His dad pushed aside the controversy surrounding the “stolen” win, saying that his son really deserved to win. “He kept fighting. He will always fight, that’s in his DNA, I guess,” told Jos.
However, their relationship had not always been so cordial. Max's father kicked him out of his van when he was 15 for crashing in the second lap of a world championship kart race.
According to reports, the teen was left at a gas station until he was picked up by his mom, go-karting champion Sophie Kumpen. Max did not speak to his father for a week.
The Violent past of Jos Verstappen
Jos received his tough-guy parenting style from his tough-guy father, Frans.
Jos and his father were sentenced to five years in prison in 1998 for allegedly shattering a man's head. They later reached an out-of-court settlement.
Jos went back to court in Tongeren in December 2008, accused of beating his wife of 12 years — Max's mom — when his kid was 11 years old.
He got fined and sentenced to three months probation.
Max moved with his father after his parents divorced. His mother housed his sister Victoria, who was also a racing driver.
Jos allegedly assaulted his unnamed 24-year-old girlfriend in a hotel room after an argument got out of hand in November 2011.
After two weeks in jail, he was released when the case was dropped due to lack of evidence.
How Max Verstappen Feels about His Father
Looking back, Max believes his singularity of purpose, which has been so visible throughout his F1 career, was forged as a boy on the karting courses.
Max Verstappen with his mom, wife, and child (Source: Max's Instagram)
He says his father taught him how to focus on himself and work with his team. Max said that the angry parenting style worked for him and that he needed it to toughen him up.
Jos shared a similar feeling and said his son needed the straightening whenever he was not focused on racing.