Max Verstappen, a 22-year-old Dutch driver, gave an exclusive interview to ELEVEN SPORTS, where he talked about the return of the F1 world championship, the optimism for this season, the technical improvements of his car and the possibility of holding the F1 GP in Portimão.
Looking ahead to this first F1 weekend with the return of the F1 World Championship with the Austrian GP, after a long stop, Max Verstappen said that “Definitely things will not be the same, some teams bring upgrades to the cars so it will be a little different. We had a long break and, of course, for some teams it will be easier to get back on track than for others. I hope it is positive for us! ”
Asked about the importance of physical condition, and the possible difficulty of returning to competition, after 4 months without driving an F1, Verstappen said: “I hope it is not a difficulty. In the last few weeks the training has been going very well and I feel better than ever. This is a good thing. Of course, when we return to an F1 for the first time, even though we have trained a lot, at first we will feel some hardness, but this is a natural reaction of the body. However, I don’t think this is going to be a problem on this track. It shouldn’t be, because that’s what we train for. It’s a good track to start with, it’s not the most demanding on the calendar”
For Verstappen racing without an audience “it will be something different from the last few years with all the Dutch fans in orange, but I know they will watch it on television, and I hope we have a good race weekend, with lots of action for everyone and a good run.”
Regarding the new rules to follow in the F1 world, because of COVID-19, Max Verstappen said that “everything is well structured and we have all the instructions. For example, entering through one door and leaving through another. Measures that we have to take, like working in a mask. We received a lot of e-mails, before arriving here, with all the procedures. It hasn’t been too bad, and everyone knows their roles and how to proceed ”
Asked about the possibility of having the Portimão Grand Prix on the F1 calendar, where he was in January, Verstappen stated that: “it would be very good, because I really enjoyed driving on the track. It is really special and it is not an easy track, with elevation variations that make the track more challenging and fun. I imagine that driving an F1 there is really fantastic. So, if possible, I would be very happy to race in Portimão”.
As the Portimão Autodrome is a track that has never been on the calendar, and therefore, a challenge for everyone who only had contact with the track in a simulator, asked if it will be a bigger challenge than the normal tracks, the Dutch driver said that “Of course it will be a novelty, even if I have already raced there, not in F1, but at least I know the track, which helps. But of course, if it is announced in the calendar, we will do a lot of simulator time on the track, but whenever we go to a new track in an F1 car we always need a few laps to get into the rhythm and understand all the corners, because it is a complicated track, with many blind curves.”