JUNE 26, 2023

Verstappen open to any Red Bull teammate

Max Verstappen's manager says he's not interested in helping another driver thrive in Formula 1.

Max Verstappen, Canadian GP 2023
© Red Bull

Max Verstappen's manager says he's not interested in helping another driver thrive in Formula 1.

Raymond Vermeulen manages the back-to-back reigning world champion's career in collaboration with Max's father Jos - whom he also managed.

But he told the Dutch magazine Formule 1: "I could never muster the energy I have for Max for someone else."

Indeed, he says representing one of the world's most popular and successful sportsmen is currently much more than a full-time job - even though it's "fun".

"Making deals is fun," said Vermeulen, adding that the "internationalisation" of the Max Verstappen brand is going very well.

"It is a gigantic flywheel that is now turning," he explained.

"Of course I don't know where it ends, but I think there is still a whole world open to us. But in the end it's all about Max's performance on the track.

"Now he has this 'boy next door' imagine, but as soon as he wears a helmet he is a lion that tries to eat everyone. And I think that appeals to people."

Also key to the Verstappen brand, Vermeulen insists, is loyalty - so he's keen to shoot down any speculation that Max might abandon Red Bull prior to the expiry of the long current contract through 2028.

"Why would Max make a switch now in this situation?" Vermeulen said. "We are not interested in that.

"It's a small world, of course. Everyone and everything talks to each other and we have a commitment until 2028. And as you can see, Max is in the roll of his life, driving without pressure."

He said Verstappen, 25, is also not worried if Red Bull decides to replace the struggling Sergio Perez with another teammate.

"Bring it on," Vermeulen said. "Everyone gets the same material. And everyone is free to beat Max, right?"

As for the prospect of trying to repeat the Verstappen phenomenon with another young and talented driver, Vermeulen says he's not interested in the slightest.

"No," he said. "I am very clear about this. I will continue to work exclusively for Max.

"I don't have time for other things either. I don't have the energy for it. Max is like a family member to me, as he is a friend. I've known him since he was born. I have a very different kind of relationship with him."