Max Verstappen was turned into a “perfect driver” through “violence”. That is the sensational claim of ousted former Red Bull driver Jaime Alguersuari, who made an ultra-rare appearance at the British GP recently.
The Spaniard has been scathing in his criticism of Red Bull’s driver program and Dr Helmut Marko since he was axed in his early-20s.
When asked if he bumped into Marko at Silverstone, Alguersuari – now 33 – told AS newspaper: “Yes, I went to say hello but he didn’t pay much attention to me.
“He told me that he had made me a famous DJ and I told him that it was not true.
“It was a strange feeling, because I felt comfortable in a place where I had a bad time and didn’t enjoy it. Returning in a more relaxed way has helped me close a bad dream.”
Alguersuari says he was invited to Silverstone by his countryman Carlos Sainz.
“I have become hooked on F1 again because they have done a good job in terms of entertainment,” he said. “I wanted to be close to my friend Carlos and feel the competition up close again.”
One of Alguersuari’s main complaints about Red Bull’s driver program has always been the way the energy drink owned company treats youngsters like “machines”.
“All of us who have gone through Red Bull have been machines,” he said. “That’s the school we had. Either you win or you die.
“We all felt that maximum pressure from Dr Marko. We were always on a knife edge.”
Dominant F1 driver Verstappen, however, is absolutely thriving under the Red Bull regime.
“It’s the exception that confirms the rule,” said Alguersuari.
“His father, through violence, taught him to win races. He was trained that way. There was no happiness. They pushed him so far that they ended up making a perfect driver.”
When asked to clarify his allegation of violence again Verstappen’s father Jos, he explained: “That’s what I mean. It’s not a figure of speech.
“His father used violence when Max didn’t win in karting. If you see that today it seems wild, but that’s how it happened for him. I would never educate my son like that.
“It was outrageous, but it worked for them. It was a very strict system, with great discipline, which Red Bull liked.
“I only did one kart race against him, in France. In free practice you already saw how aggressive he was,” Alguersuari added. “He didn’t just want to win, he wanted to show that he was above everyone else.
“It is the attitude that his father transmitted to him. Max and his father, Jos, hate their teammate and always will. He does not want to even give water to second place.
“It’s not enough to win – he wants to humiliate.”
But Alguersuari thinks the utter dominance displayed by Verstappen and Red Bull this year will ultimately end.
“Next year things will be different,” he said. “The cost cap and the limited wind tunnel hours will hurt them.
“I don’t know if they will win again next year, but if they do, it won’t be as easy as this year. That’s for sure.”