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F1 2022

Verstappen's manager: "Racing will always be number one"

With Max Verstappen on his way to securing a second title, racing will still be the number one priority for the Dutchman according to manager Raymond Vermeulen.

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To news overview © Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

During the Belgian Grand Prix, RacingNews365 spoke exclusively with Raymond Vermeulen, the well-known manager of Max Verstappen.

Vermeulen and Jos Verstappen are present at almost every Grand Prix to support the current world champion. After winning the title there has been increased attention on him, so it is important that everything around Verstappen is organised.

This enables the Red Bull Racing driver to focus on his most important task: driving. According to Vermeulen, that is also the main reason that Max Verstappen has never changed.

Vermeulen is immediately clear about Verstappen's first priority: "Racing will always be number one with Verstappen. We try to arrange everything around it as best as possible, but the most important thing remains Max's performance on the track.

"That's how we observe the growth that Formula 1 is currently experiencing worldwide. I mean, compared to other major sports in the world, we talk about a niche market when we talk about F1.

"However, Netflix has made great strides in the sport and the market is still open to us, especially in North America, where I think we still have a lot to gain."

			© XPBimages
	© XPBimages

Verstappen has famously rejected being part of the Drive to Survive Netflix series that has catapulted F1's popularity in the last few years, but that hasn't stopped his brand from reaching outside of the Dutch market.

Even before he won the World Championship, Verstappen already enjoyed worldwide fame - something that is reflected in the sales of the merchandise at the Verstappen team.

"We measure everything and see, for example, on our platform Verstappen.com that many people from all over the world visit our platform and buy our merchandise. Due to the great worldwide interest, we have appointed people who specifically map the markets and help us with it to get even bigger in those markets.

"The growth in North America has been incredible in terms of sales of our merchandise and we can therefore confirm that Formula 1 is growing very strongly there. We are a full-time team of over 25 people working on the to be able to help fans directly with ordering the desired merchandise.

"That always goes well, but the peak after the world title in Abu Dhabi even put extreme pressure on our logistics partner. That is not very strange, because you can see that of course everywhere that when there is a peak somewhere, it becomes difficult to maintain the same delivery speed."


- Raymond Vermeulen

It is clear that the peak after Abu Dhabi was not only caused by the demand from the Dutch Verstappen fans.

"Orders were placed from all over the world, so you really saw how the sport is alive around the world. Another example of that worldwide interest is the Orange Army, which you see on more and more circuits," said Vermeulen.

Vermeulen says they are planning with the future in mind with regards to the Verstappen brand: "There are already two Verstappen shops in the Netherlands, but we could also see them in other countries in the future.

"We have big ambitions and we are very busy realizing those ambitions, at the moment we are working on a schedule that actually runs until 2028. You have to think ahead and there are certainly interesting plans in the coming years. that we want to perform."

Verstappen has a contract with Red Bull Racing until 2028 and logically the successful Austrian brand plays a major role in the success of the Dutchman.

"The great thing about Red Bull is that you can switch with them very quickly, even though it is a very large company. However, we work with a small group of people who make the decisions and that makes it ideal to work with them.

"They also have the local knowledge in-house in each country, which is very useful for us, because we deal with many different countries, which enables us to switch quickly with them in every country. a hip and cool brand that is experiencing enormous growth, which makes us happy to work with them."

The ambitious plans that the Verstappen family, Vermeulen, and the team have in mind are clear and a logical consequence of the wonderful results that Max Verstappen has achieved in recent years.

It is precisely these results that Vermeulen wants to emphasise again during the interview. Because no matter how big the brand can become, everything should revolve around racing.

"In the end, not much has changed in Formula 1 over the years, because everything revolves around racing," he explains.

"That's why we've always said that everything is about racing and it always will be."

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