‘Verstappen was Red Bull Racing’s cheapest driver ever’
Red Bull Racing is always looking for new talents with their junior program. They invest in young drivers and although many will drop out along the way, there are always a few who are suitable for Formula 1. It is generally a relatively long and expensive process, but sometimes there are exceptions.
In a video conversation between António Félix da Costa and Max Verstappen, the Portuguese cites an anecdote. For example, da Costa tells that he went to Brazil for a bite to eat with Sebastian Vettel and Helmut Marko, where Vettel was always pushing a bit. That in the sense of: “Hey, Helmut. Next year in Toro Rosso is Max, but who is the next driver. Antonio, right? That’s obvious. He (Vettel) was always pushing Helmut for fun.”
“Then we got to the point in the conversation where I asked Helmut: ‘Who was your cheapest driver ever?’ Because the Red Bull junior program invests in drivers and the good ones make it. So I asked: ‘Who was the cheapest, the one that barely cost you anything?’ And he said – he’d signed you a month earlier – ‘Max Verstappen. I barely had to spend any money on him and now he’s in Formula 1.'”
To which Max Verstappen replies with a smile: “Yes, and I remind him of that every day. But yeah, it’s true yeah. I haven’t really spent much time on a junior team or anything.” Today, of course, Verstappen has proven himself what makes him one of the more expensive drivers, but Red Bull has already earned back that investment from back then.