F1 icon tells Verstappen: “Easier to win than in my time; I had 65 races a year"

Sir Jackie Stewart has offered an insight into the brutal schedule of an F1 driver from his era, insisting it’s now easier for Max Verstappen.
Race winner Max Verstappen (NLD) Red Bull Racing celebrates in parc ferme. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 15, Italian
Race winner Max Verstappen (NLD) Red Bull Racing celebrates in parc ferme…

Stewart competed for nine seasons in Formula 1 across the 1960s and 70s, winning three championships - he was the only Brit to achieve this until Lewis Hamilton matched him in 2015.

Verstappen is on course to win his third in a row this year, but Stewart insists that today’s F1 is easier to conquer.

Remote video URL

“Because there are a lot more races,” he told Bild

“When I became world champion for the first time in 1969, we only competed in 11 grands prix. This year the calendar consisted of 24 races [although two were cancelled]. 

“Given the number, you can afford to have a bad weekend and still have a chance of winning the title afterwards. But that is only half the truth.”

Stewart was asked what the other half look looks like…

He replied: “How would you describe the job of Verstappen, Hamilton and co?”

Stewart was asked for his opinion as a fellow F1 driver…

“Exactly,” he said. “All they do all year long is compete for their team. Back then I still had to drive in rally, IndyCar, touring championships and many other competitions to earn enough money. 

“While drivers now drive 24 races a year, I had 65 when I was at my peak. 

“This meant that we travelled a lot more back then. My record for most Atlantic crossings in one year is 61!

“Don't forget: There were no private jets back then, I flew regular flights. This is unimaginable for most drivers today.”

Jackie Stewart (GBR). Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 15, Italian Grand Prix, Monza, Italy, Practice Day.-
Jackie Stewart (GBR). Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 15, Italian Grand…

Stewart was asked if he’d rather be one of today’s F1 drivers.

“Yes, of course! It's more comfortable for drivers at every level,” he said. 

“Across competitions, fewer races, better travel, more pay and pure luxury at the grands prix. 

“We used to sit in tents through which the wind whistled. Today a number of trucks drive up to unload the team houses. 

“There's no wind whistling through them, they have real walls. The drivers have it much better today.”

But Stewart accepted there are negative aspects to today’s F1.

“However, they are also followed by the media at every turn,” he said. 

“Every action of theirs is evaluated. It was different for us. 

“We also went out for a drink with the journalists in the evening, and the content of the conversation wasn't in the newspaper afterwards.”

Stewart was asked if he can see any driver beating Verstappen to a future F1 championship, while the Red Bull driver is still competing.

“Typically, drivers develop until their late twenties,” he said.

“But to be honest: I don't see much room for Verstappen to improve. No matter whether it's raining, windy or hot - Max gets the absolute maximum out of the car everywhere. 

“But you shouldn't forget that he's not a normal 25-year-old. He has been racing in Formula 1 since he was 17 and is much more experienced than others his age.

“It's hard to imagine at the moment, but people also thought with Lewis Hamilton that no one could beat him as long as he was active. 

“It would be comparatively easy for Sergio Parez to win the title. 

“He is in the right team at the right time - but only drives solidly and not outstandingly like Verstappen. 

“It's even a little easier for Max to win multiple world titles in a row than it was in my time.”

Read More