Max Verstappen has the potential to become a five-time Formula 1 world champion if Red Bull can maintain its position as the leading team until the current ruleset ends in 2026, according to renowned car designer Adrian Newey.
Verstappen recently secured his second world championship title in 2023, joining a select group of 10 other drivers who have achieved this feat. However, if Red Bull can continue its dominance for the next few years, Verstappen could reach the same level as legendary drivers Juan Manuel Fangio, Lewis Hamilton, and Michael Schumacher, who have all won five or more F1 world titles.
Newey, who has been involved in winning 25 F1 drivers’ and constructors’ championships throughout his career, spoke exclusively to Motorsport.com about Verstappen’s standing among other multiple title winners. While acknowledging the difficulty of comparing drivers from different eras and cars, Newey highlighted Verstappen’s ability to drive almost sub-consciously, leaving him with ample mental capacity to analyze the car’s performance and make necessary adjustments.
He explained that Verstappen possesses the skill to modify his driving style to suit the car and utilize the electronic tools on the steering wheel to optimize his performance based on factors such as tire degradation. Newey emphasized that this ability to read a race and maintain a constant reserve of driving skill is a hallmark of great drivers, and Verstappen has clearly demonstrated this talent.
When asked about working with Verstappen, Newey described him as an easy driver to collaborate with. While acknowledging his demanding nature, Newey praised Verstappen’s clear and concise feedback, stating that he knows how to express his requirements from the car. Newey also mentioned the trust between Verstappen and his race engineer, Gianpiero Lambiase, in finding solutions to improve performance.
Although Red Bull experienced a rare defeat in Singapore in 2023, Newey expressed confidence in the team’s efforts to meet Verstappen’s expectations and deliver the best possible results.
In conclusion, Newey’s insights shed light on Verstappen’s exceptional driving skills and his potential to join the ranks of the greatest Formula 1 champions if Red Bull can maintain its competitive edge in the coming years.