Nov.28 (GMM) After the chequered flag on Sunday, Fernando Alonso asked Max Verstappen what he will be doing over the next few weeks now that the long 2023 season is over.
“Hopefully not too much,” the triple world champion replied on Viaplay.
Indeed, the ultra-dominant Dutch driver’s patience with F1’s long and arduous season appeared to be wearing thin in Las Vegas just over a week ago, before he completed his meteoric year with a record-breaking 19th win of 2023.
And now, Red Bull’s top star will be going quiet for the winter.
“For Max, the winter break means that he eats and drinks what he wants and he can leave Formula 1 behind for a while,” his father, Jos Verstappen, told Sky Deutschland.
“It’s important for him to recharge his batteries. He wants to rest now and be left alone and not talk about Formula 1. The training will then be intensified again from mid-January.”
Jos denied, however, that his 26-year-old is “tired” at the end of 2023.
“But he is glad that the season is over,” he admitted. “It hasn’t been easy and many in the team are a little sick from the stress and strain of five races in six weeks on three continents.”
The calendar is blowing out by two more races for 2024, with Verstappen’s father insisting that he has no intention of trying to travel to all 24 stops.
“24 races is too much for me, anyway,” he said. “I don’t know when it will become too much for Max as well, but he will certainly honour his contract.”
Verstappen’s Red Bull deal runs through 2028.
When asked if Max’s season has shown he is now the perfect Formula 1 driver, team advisor and mentor Dr Helmut Marko agrees that Verstappen has “improved in all areas” this year.
“He took a very crucial step in tyre management,” he said. “He literally senses how far he can go with it. I don’t think we’ve seen Max at his peak yet.
“From time to time he gets a little impatient when the car isn’t exactly what he wanted,” Marko added. “But in the race he has learned not to fight anymore unless it’s necessary.
“He’s become even faster whilst protecting the equipment more. I would never have thought it was possible, but I don’t see any upper limits yet.”