Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Interlagos, 2017

Verstappen doesn’t want to be compared to F1’s greats

F1 Fanatic Round-up

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In the round-up: Max Verstappen says he doesn’t want to be compared to F1’s great drivers.

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The Daytona 24 Hours is still going on as today’s round-up goes live – here’s why @JackySteeg is watching:

What an amazing event! Probably the closest we have to a proper all-star motorsport event. I count two F1 race winners (including a certain world champion), six overall Le Mans winners (three of them WEC champions too), 3 DTM champions (including the current champion), the last three European F3 champions, four Indy 500 winners, five IndyCar champions, the two drivers currently heading the Formula E standings… I’m not even going to try to count the number of class winners at Le Mans, or bother naming the vast number of series regulars who have tasted success in IMSA.

Where else can you see as diverse an entry list as this?
@JackySteeg

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  • 19 comments on “Verstappen doesn’t want to be compared to F1’s greats”

    1. I hate Balance of Performance, mainly because they never get it right and the teams sandbagging efforts work great everytime. I admire technical brilliance, and if a car is so much faster than the other so be it, it might be clever engineering, not just the amount of money spent.

      The problem is creating a level field to all involved to compete in equal terms, but it’s obvious that one team will always get it right and suceed. Balance of performance is an artificial and unfair way to level the field. Like sucess ballast or reverse grids.

      1. @fer-no65 I tend to disagree as it has worked very well in GT racing. It is part of the charm of the series that all cars are designed to one free set of rules and then afterwards can receive a little penalty to bring them closer. It’s part of the incentive for big sportscar builders to participate. They don’t have to redesign the massive M6 to be able to fight the nimble 911 for example. BoP will make sure each have their strenghts and weaknesses. It wouldn’t work in F1 because there is in the end one solution that is fastest within the rules whereas in GT racing that isn’t.

      2. @fer-no65, the 2016 24 Hours of Le Mans comes to mind there, where the Ford GT and Ferrari 488 were ahead of the pack by a large margin – though some did cynically suggest that, with Ford having bankrolled a massive exhibition for the ACO on “Americans at Le Mans” before the race, not to mention providing most of the exhibits, and had spent most of the build up to the race going on about this being the 50th anniversary of their win in 1966, that the ACO might have deliberately fixed that Balance of Performance in order to generate a “Ford versus Ferrari” battle for that year given it would tie in so perfectly with the pre-race marketing.

        There is an interesting article on the Daily Sportscar site that does look at the issues in trying to establish a Balance of Performance (it’s more geared towards GT cars, but the same underlying principles hold), and they highlight that it is a very difficult thing to achieve in practise. http://www.dailysportscar.com/2016/08/10/understanding-balance-of-performance.html

        They do rely in part on simulator testing, which is in itself an imperfect tool to model the cars, and part of it is down to the fact that certain drivers adapt quite differently to small changes in performance, such as adding weight ballast or reducing the power.

        For example, they simulated the performance of two different drivers on one car, then reran the test with two different scenarios (a 30kg weight penalty and a reduction in power of 30bhp). The weight penalty saw the initially slower driver lose four tenths, whilst the faster driver lost six tenths – the power penalty, meanwhile, ended up reversing the running order, with the driver who’d initially been slower losing six tenths, whilst the other driver went 1.8 seconds slower.

        The other problem is that, quite often, that difference would also vary significantly from circuit to circuit – at a tight and twisty circuit, such as Brands Hatch, a small power reduction would probably not hurt the drivers very much as the cars are so rarely drag limited. By contrast, at a venue like Paul Ricard or Spa Francorchamps, that same small reduction in power would have a far bigger impact on performance (even just 5bhp would have a significant impact on pace).

        It also points out how, for new cars, it can be extremely difficult to judge the performance balance correctly because, being new, the ACO will not have a record of how the cars will respond if they make a power or weight change. Quite often, the new cars end up being too quick because they misjudge it, not to mention that new entrants can indeed heavily sandbag – Ford were accused of that in 2016, and the complaints are well founded given that, even after the ACO cut their boost pressure after qualifying for Le Mans, Ford managed to go even faster in race trim than they went in qualifying (which was already miles ahead of most entrants).

        However, there have also been instances where the ACO or IMSA have overdone the penalties and made a car uncompetitive. This weekend, BMW have been especially critical of the balance, complaining that they’ve been excessively hobbled (despite being given a performance break during the race weekend) – though the issue of sandbagging in the past does mean that some are inclined to dismiss those complaints as potentially being deceptive.

        It is one of those things that, as those series which run BoP regulations want to keep a very tight rein on costs, imposing a BoP rule does have that effect (though there are signs that costs have begun to creep upwards in the WEC despite those efforts). However, whilst viewed as a necessary evil, it’s an extremely difficult process to get right and one that is definitely prone to causing a lot of infighting when one outfit is viewed as being treated overly generously or overly harshly by the governing bodies.

    2. Many new drivers have been touted as the new this and new that over the years, but I think a few are becoming clear.

      Hamilton is the new Schumacher: the record breaker not everyone likes, but can dominate when he gets the right car.

      Vettel is the new Prost: the clinical, methodical multi-champion that rubs people the wrong way and loses his cool when frustrated.

      Verstappen is the new Senna: Fast and aggressive, natural talent that needs to be tempered, inspires fanatical nationalistic fans.

      1. @selbbin Vettel’s is definitely not a Prost. Prost was clinical, won many races that weren’t his, he won for many teams, he never gave more than it was necessary, he was super consistent. Vettel is not a schumi because he hasn’t gone clearly over the line to win, he just gets heated, he hasn’t risked too much nor has he successfully won on a worse car.
        Senna fits Vettel better, he won all championships on a dominant car for one team, and he’s the one that loses his temper, races aggressively, and rubs people in the wrong way, he just doesn’t have a nation behind him, Vettel is a Senna without Brazil, well for that we have Max, the

        1. 1991 was not a dominant car at all.

        2. Ricciardo is the new Prost. They’ve both got a nose for racing.

      2. @selbbin, I do find it curious that, instead of accepting that those drivers are forming their own distinct identities within the sport, we instead seek to categorise them in terms of the drivers of the past instead.

        The comparison between Hamilton and Schumacher feels rather odd, since in temperament the two drivers are completely divergent. The way in which they have interacted with their team and how they sought to project themselves to the field is also rather different, and it also feels a poor fit given that Hamilton has only broken one record (that of the number of pole positions in his career).

        The comparison between Vettel and Prost also feels rather ill judged, as again in terms of temperament and driving style the two drivers are very different (I would have said that, on the contrary, Prost was generally a more reserved figure).

        It also feels rather ill judged when you consider that Prost managed to win multiple races from far outside the front few rows (as low as 13th place on the grid), whereas all of Vettel’s victories have come from the first three places on the grid (and 45 of those were from either 1st or 2nd on the grid) – if anything, it’s a trait where he’s closer to Senna in that regard.

        Both the Hamilton and Vettel comparisons also fall down when you consider that both Hamilton and Vettel have been hailed for great individual qualifying performances as well. Whilst that was, to some extent, true for Schumacher, both Schumacher and Prost were arguably more respected for the fact that they could be relentlessly consistent in race trim – for example, the famous Hungarian GP where Schumacher was asked to deliver lap times that were qualifying trim pace and delivered 15 back to back laps at qualifying pace, or one mystified writer for Motorsport Magazine once watching Prost at the Dutch GP (I think it was 1981), where he couldn’t seem to understand how Prost was driving the car so smoothly and effortless that he thought he was taking it easy, until he checked the lap times and saw that Prost had comfortably beaten the rest of the field.

        Perhaps the only one that is mildly apt is that of Senna and Verstappen, but that is mainly with regards to the way in which the more zealous parts of their fan base have virtually worshipped them with near religious fervour – I can recall one poster on this site calling a visit with Verstappen a “gift from God” and calling it a divine revelation. If the statistics are to be believed, most of Max’s fans probably were watching the sport when Senna was around given their age and tendency to have been fans of his father Jos (who was active at the tail end of Senna’s career), so perhaps that commonality in behaviour isn’t entirely unexpected.

        Perhaps, in some respects, the other aspect is the way that both figures have sought to weaponise the press and use it as a way of pressurising the FIA.
        Senna was adept at manipulating the narrative around himself, and in many ways we still see the world then as Senna wanted us to see it at the time (rather than necessarily how things actually were at the time). We saw something similar last year in the way that Max, and to some extent Jos as well, whipped the media into a frenzy over his penalty in the US GP and used it to cudgel those whom they had a grudge against, and perhaps taken advantage of the fact that quite a few of the ex-drivers who commentate on the sport all had careers that overlapped with that of Jos and, being associates of his, perhaps give more weight to the arguments that the Verstappen family puts out to the press.

        1. I see verstappen more like schumacher, senna was better in qualifying and in the rain, verstappen and schumacher weren’t as great in qualifying but great in the rain.

          And also in race trim, both were incredibly quick.

          I also think ricciardo is someone like hakkinen, not as talented like schumacher but one who could challenge him in the right car, however the mansell-ricciardo comparison fits too.

          And I think hamilton is the most similar to senna, both strong in the rain, both very fast, both excellent qualifiers, and in the earlier part of his career hamilton made more mistakes, just like senna.

          Prost is like alonso, not excellent like senna in the rain or qualifying, but a good all rounder with like no weak spot.

      3. I don’t like these comparissons; they are all greats in their own way.
        And IMO Vettel’s style is more like Schummi’s, but a mix of his pre a post retirement eras.

      4. It’s funny, because I have been a long-time F1 fan as well I always try to make comparisons too. I do it to give me an idea where their career is projected to lead to.

        Senna=Max exceptionally talented, able to do things average drivers will never be able to copy. In soccer, like a Romario.

        Sainz=Massa Capable of winning in the right car, can be quick at times but lacks the racing skills of Max.

        Magnussen=Salo Average but thinks he should be in a better team.

        Ricciardo=Mansell Fearless, a lionheart but not as talented in his racing skills as Senna.

        Stoffel=Hakkinen Modest but fearlessly fast, does his talking in the track. Will be McLaren’s main contender for many years.

        Ocon=Piquet Quick but not as talented as Senna. A streetfighter who knows how to play politics but can be vicious.

        1. The irony is that Max Verstappen would probably barely recognise most of those drivers given his apathy towards the history of the sport.

          As noted in that article, he himself states that he has a very limited knowledge of the history of the sport and doesn’t care about the heritage of the sport enough to want to learn anything about it. Looking further back in time, figures such as Clark were completely alien to him, whilst as far as he was concerned the cars of that era were just “too old” and “too slow” to elicit any sort of interest from him at all.

          1. Just fyi….Max is known for watching back old F1 races to learn from.

      5. All comparisons are void, they are drivers who are properly their own men.

        Vettel is neither Schumi or Senna. Hamilton is nothing like Schumi. He is most like maybe Jim Clark, but in general he’s just a hipster with incredible speed.

        And Max is nothing like Senna. He sure is fast in the rain.

        Senna made the car dance. He was a 4 wheel savant with borderline personality, as close, to crazy as you would still allow on the track.

        Schumacher was rutheless/dirty on the track. So far Nico Rosberg was more ruthless than Hamilton.

        Paralels are there, but people are different.

    3. Lucas Di Grassi has a valid point regarding the integration of the Halo. I agree with him on that.

    4. Roth Man (@rdotquestionmark)
      28th January 2018, 9:02

      Max is the most exciting part of F1 for me right now. He really has grabbed hold of the sport and give it a much needed shake. I love his genuine arrogance, something more common in the greatest boxers than Formula One. Although he can be arrogant and feisty (which is brilliant entertainment) he does seem a nice guy outside the circuit as well.

    5. Max doesn’t need to be compared to any other drivers. He is Max Verstappen, the youngest drivers ever in F1. His 2nd year of racing cars was in F1 aged 17. He is the youngest GP winner and already widely considered to be one of the 3 best current racers among 2 4 time world champions.

      He already won 3 GPs while not having the best car and he just got 20 years old. 2 years younger than Lewis’ F1 debut. He is racing with Lewis and Seb while his teammate is racing Bottas and Raikkonen.

      i think it’s fair to say he is in a league of his own.

    6. Daytona 24 does seem like an All-Star race. It always gets me pumped for the upcoming race season. Despite the race being in their backyard and before their season started, the best of NASCAR stayed away this year, and it is a very bad look.

    7. Sensible lad; he’s not there – yet.

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