Max Verstappen’s father told to take ‘step back’ after involvement at Red Bull

Red Bull told Jos Verstappen he had to take a step back when son Max joined the Formula 1 team in 2016.

Team manager Graham Watson says he had sympathy for the former driver as Jos had to “let go” of his son but also let the team do their job.

The younger Verstappen enjoyed a successful first season and has gone from strength to strength, winning his first world championship in 2021.

“Jos was of course also used to having full control over Max’s career from the karting days,” Watson told Motorsport.com.

“When Max came to us, the team looked different than it does now, less professional. Jos perhaps doubted whether our team was of the level to help his son further in F1.

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“I noticed this especially in the fact that Jos tapped my shoulder every day and asked: ‘Graham, what about this and what about that?’ At one point I had to be a bit blunt and say: ‘For f***’s sake, just let the team members do their job.’

“Only when Max came to Red Bull did they tell Jos that he really had to take a step back. I don’t have children myself, but I can well imagine that letting go of your own son is quite difficult.”

While he might have taken a step back, Verstappen’s father was at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix to watch his son win the world title in December.

At the time of Verstappen’s win, Jos said: “During the race I walked away because I didn’t believe [he could win] anymore, but I came back for the last lap.

“I think Max was the driver this year and he really deserved this championship. I think the whole team was worried because we know [Mercedes’] speed. But he kept fighting. He will always fight. That’s in his DNA, I guess, and that’s what he did.”

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