Max Verstappen’s dad warned to ‘take a step back’ by Red Bull amid team issues

Max Verstappen 's father Jos had to be told to back off by Red Bull officials as a result of his controlling behaviour in the F1 paddock.

Having groomed his son to be a future F1 champion from a young age, Verstappen Snr was very much used to having absolute control over the destiny of his boy's career.

While that may have been allowed to fly in Max's karting days and in other series, it all changed once he had stepped up to take his place as Red Bull's prized asset in F1.

He joined the team in 2016 as a fresh-faced teenager, after an impressive debut season in the sport with the sister team AlphaTauri – then known as Toro Rosso.

There were rumours of issues between Verstappen and team-mate Carlos Sainz, but Toro Rosso manager Graham Watson has revealed it was the fathers who caused the most disruption within the team.

"To be quite honest, I didn’t experience it that way, although both were very driven and the fathers actually much more," he told

"I already knew Carlos Sainz Snr from my time in rallying, so I knew both fathers well. He was extremely driven and always looked a little suspicious if the other driver in the team was getting something his own son didn't.

"I remember well that I had a clash with him in Barcelona, which must have been during the winter test of 2016.

"He learned about the way our men worked with the car and felt it wouldn’t be fair at all. Then I was like: 'Hang on a minute,' and I made it very clear to him that both drivers were getting the exact same treatment.

"Jos also felt disadvantaged in his own career and certainly thought with Benetton that he was being treated unfairly. I'm not telling any secrets with that, that's publicly known.

"Max definitely didn't want that to happen and most of all wanted to beat his team-mate. He really has the mentality: 'I will not allow the team to be built around my team-mate, the team will be built around me.'

"Because of my years in the pit box, it may strike me more than others, but I clearly see Jos' hand in that."

Jos continued to oversee everything during his son's year with Toro Rosso – to the point Watson once had to tell him: "For f**k's sake, just let the team members do their job."

And when the time came for Max to be bumped up to the Red Bull team, his father was told in no uncertain terms that he would have to back off.

"Only when Max came to Red Bull did they tell Jos that he really had to take a step back," Watson added.

"I don't have children myself, but I can well imagine that letting go of your own son is quite difficult."

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