Max Verstappen has been warned he will not be able to challenge for the world title until 2021
Red Bull star Max Verstappen may be forced to wait until 2021 to challenge for his first world title.
That’s the ominous warning from his father, Jos.
Verstappen is currently fourth in the Drivers’ Championship, behind Mercedes stars Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas, and Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc.
The Dutchman has enjoyed a successful season, having won two races and secured six podium finishes.
However, he has been simply powerless to compete with the two Silver Arrows drivers, and in recent weeks has struggled to match the pace from the two Ferraris.
Leclerc has managed to score four consecutive podium finishes, winning in Belgium and Italy, while finishing second and third in Singapore and Russia respectively.
And Jos Verstappen has warned that his son could be forced to wait even longer for the chance to challenge at the top, because the quality of the car is unlikely to improve.
“We should be closer [to the top] now, but it’s harder than expected,” Jos admitted.
Max Verstappen has struggled to keep up with the Mercedes drivers this year
“It’s very frustrating that we had some good races before the summer break but stopped after the summer break while others made clear progress.
“Max can’t do much at the moment, we depend on the team.
“He does everything in his power. But it’s not his fault, and that’s what makes it so difficult. Put him in a good car and he’ll race for the championship.”
Verstappen has been linked with Sebastian Vettel’s seat at Ferrari, with the German expected to leave.
But Jos appeared to play down that speculation, referencing the time his son has spent at the Austrian team.
“We’ve been with Red Bull for several years now, and it doesn’t look like we could fight for the World Championship next year,” he continued.
“We’re a little behind on the car and the engine. We’ll have to work on these two things if we want to fight for the championship next year, but it doesn’t look like it yet.
“The team has to change some things in order to be able to fight for the title. Otherwise, there is a danger that 2020 will be another ‘lost year’.
“Why should we be able to close the gap next year? I’m really worried.”