Aug.29 (GMM) Dr Helmut Marko is eyeing September’s Japanese GP as the ideal place for Max Verstappen to put the lid on his third consecutive drivers’ title.
That would leave a full six grands prix left unraced in 2023, demonstrating just how dominant the Red Bull driver has been this year.
“Let’s see if the victories and records will continue until then,” Marko told Osterreich newspaper, “but Suzuka would be a good fit.
“Our engine partner would certainly not mind either.”
Marko even revealed that Red Bull’s dominant car will even get another upgrade soon – in Singapore next month.
It is an incredible and ideal situation for 25-year-old Verstappen, who is able to set a new all-time record for the most consecutive race wins in a season – 10 – this weekend at Monza.
“Of course I’m completely focused on Formula 1,” he said in a new exclusive interview with Sky Italia, “but I’m relaxed and enjoying the moment.
“The goal was always to try to get into F1 which is a difficult enough goal to achieve. But what has happened is more than we could ever have imagined and dreamed of.”
Verstappen admits, however, that his task has been helped this year because key rivals Mercedes and Ferrari struggled to up their game from 2023 to 2023.
“After last year I thought the other teams could get closer by knowing the regulations better, so we were pleasantly surprised by that,” he said.
“Last year we had too much weight on the car most of the time, and at first this year it took me a few races to push the car to its full potential and fine-tune.
“When I understood how to work with the car it became really, really good to drive.
“Of course we know we have the best car on the grid and we all know how it works in Formula 1 that it is very much related to the performance of the car.
“But I can still be happy with my performance,” Verstappen, 25, added.
Indeed, as Verstappen got more comfortable with his own performance, teammate Sergio Perez began to struggle more – triggering speculation that the Mexican may be ousted.
“Many people are not under a lot of pressure they think they can do a great job, but when you have to be solid, not making mistakes, it’s a completely different game.
“So it’s not just about being the best driver but knowing how to handle every situation. Like the pressure. You can have the best car in the world, but you can’t afford big mistakes. You know the world is watching you.”
Some even think Verstappen is basically unbeatable at the moment.
“I don’t think I am,” the Dutchman insists. “Anyone can be beaten and I know that.”
It might even be said that Verstappen would actually enjoy a closer battle much more – like his nail-biter against Lewis Hamilton in 2021.
“I’m having a lot more fun now,” Max insists.
“This is what I like to do – I like to win, I like to dominate. I’ve wanted to do it since I was very little.”
Finally, Verstappen revealed that he also enjoys his current off-track life, as one of the only drivers in the field in a fatherly role.
His girlfriend Kelly has a daughter with former F1 driver Daniil Kvyat.
“It’s not really my role that I think of in that way,” Verstappen insists, “but somehow I try my best to try to be in some way.
“But yeah, it’s fine. Of course you never know at first how it’s going to go because it’s all new to you, but now I’m calmer and it’s a lot of fun to have her (Penelope) around.”