Max on Red Bull's pit stop record: 'A lot of practice goes into that'

Published on 23 May 2020 by Mike Motilall

His days are mostly filled with training at home and sim racing, but of course does Max Verstappen maintain contact with the rest of the world. Even in Monaco, and aided by current technology, it’s not a huge problem to stay up to date of the most recent developments in Milton Keynes, Aston Martin Red Bull Racing’s headquarters.

The whole team has not been to the factory for weeks now because of the mandatory stop which has been prolonged and even brought forward due to Covid-19. “Our team is allowed to get back to work from the beginning of June”, says Max. “We still need to see how we are going to do that with regard to my sim days and what is even possible given the current measures in the UK. We have spoken with each other a few times already. One time even with the whole team on Zoom, that was great. When everyone was finally logged in, there were almost 800 persons online.”

During the Grand Prix-weekends usually only sixty persons per Formula 1-team are allowed to be present. But when the season gets underway this year – hopefully beginning of July in Austria – that will be a whole lot less. Max cannot wait. He says: “I enjoy it being together. My whole crew is very good. They are also very quick, even when they sometimes need to repair the car”, says Max with a smile. “Red Bull’s pit stops are unbelievable. We have the world record, but to get to that point, it takes a lot of practice before hand. That’s very impressive.”

Max has had a lot of nice highlights. But asked about his most shameful moment, he answers without hesitation: “That was the 2016 Austin race, at the American Grand Prix. Everything was going well and I was fourth. My engineer told me on the radio to push and back then that usually meant that I would be doing a pit stop. He said that, I did my lap and drove the pit lane in. While I was driving there, I realized that I had never been radioed to come in. He had never told me to do a pit stop.”

It then dawned on Max, he continues: “Then I thought to myself ‘what have I done for crying out loud?’. I called on the radio to say that I was coming in and was already in the pit lane. The mechanics scrambled the tyres and ran outside, and the stop took about some eight or nine seconds. Despite my mistake, that was still a quick pit stop. Three laps later I dropped out due to an issue with the car. Looking back that was maybe for the best. After the race Dr. Helmut Marko was of course very mad at me. I admitted that I had made a mistake, I didn’t have anything else to say. That was of course very shameful.”