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Verstappen even stronger after his first world title: 'See you at all of them'
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Verstappen even stronger after his first world title: 'See you at all of them'

2 February - 08:02 Last update: 09:17


Jonathan Wheatley saw four different top drivers take their first world title and sees many similarities between Max Verstappen and his predecessors. In the Jack Threlfall Show he explains what those similarities are.

Dealing with champions

Wheatley began as a mechanic in Formula 1 at Benetton in the early 1990s. Over the years he worked his way up to chief mechanic in 2001 at the Enstone-based team, which he left in 2006 for a new adventure at Red Bull Racing. There he is currently the sporting director of the team that delivered the 2021 world champion.

This brings the total number of world championships Wheatley has been a part of to nine. He worked with Michael Schumacher and Fernando Alonso at Benetton/Renault and witnessed Sebastian Vettel's titles between 2010 and 2013. As with Verstappen, he saw what it was like to win the first title with each of those drivers.

Longing for the world title

''Everyone is different. In the first year there is really that desire. This is all they've done everything for all their lives. Because of that, it's sometimes a little wilder with some mistakes. It's not as smooth. You can see that in all of them. If they win that first one they come back much stronger and all-around because they already have that first one in their pocket.''

Whereas Wheatley knows from Schumacher, Alonso and Vettel that they came back much more all-round after their first world title, of course he has yet to see that with the young Verstappen. However, he is looking forward to that and is already hearing good stories about his renewed focus. ' 'It will be fascinating to see how Max will perform over the next few years,'' Wheatley concludes.

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