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Max Verstappen

Stoddie Straight: A missed opportunity with Max Verstappen!

Paul Stoddart was introduced to the Verstappen family in 2003, including its youngest member at the time, Max Verstappen. The now three-time World Champion immediately left an impression.

Verstappen Minardi 2003
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What a fantastic weekend we saw from Max Verstappen in Brazil in which he managed to execute some brilliant starts. He quickly disappeared up the road and although he crossed the line eight seconds ahead of Lando Norris, in reality, he still had pace left on the table, as has been the case all year.

I actually met Max on several occasions when he was a young boy and even then his talents were on full display.

In 2003, when his father Jos drove for our Minardi team, we did this two-seater event at Rockingham Circuit, and Max was there at the circuit.

Even as young as a five or six-year-old, he was able to show his talent. We had one of the first ever Formula 1 simulators coming out at time, we actually had two of them. Max challenged his dad to a race in the simulator at six years old, and would you believe it, Max actually beat Jos on the simulator.

That was perhaps the moment we should’ve set up the Minardi Young Driver Development Programme - what a missed opportunity!

Potential Minardi F1 return

After selling the team in 2005, I mulled over options for the future. We were nearly going to put in an entry for the 2010 season to return to Formula 1 to continue the Minardi name. I had the engine deal with Cosworth but I also knew that it wasn't going to be competitive.

I had inside information into exactly what that Cosworth engine for 2010 would look like and how competitive it would be. I decided that with all the money to get the team racing in 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013, it wasn't going to be economically viable. So we just chose to pull the plug at the last minute.

It would have probably run under the name of European Minardi. Either way, it would have had a Minardi element to it. But we just looked at it and thought it would be an opportunity to lose a lot of money. There were not a lot of opportunities to be competitive.

That proved to be true with the likes of Tony Fernandes from that particular Catherham entry. That's exactly what happened, they put in a lot of lot of money. So it was probably the right choice.

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