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F1's new star, Max Verstappen's supremacy

A look at the figure of the world champion outside of racing

F1's new star, Max Verstappen's supremacy A look at the figure of the world champion outside of racing

Although there were still several races to go, Verstappen had already put Formula 1 World Championship victory on ice for weeks. Max in fact continues to win, to grind out point after point and to build, race after race, a solid foundation for a future full of success. Since that unforgettable - and much-discussed - season finale last year experienced head-to-head with multiple champion and racing legend Lewis Hamilton, the Dutch driver has grown exponentially, consecrating himself in the eyes of everyone as the new big star on the track. In fact, just this year, he has already broken the record that Schumacher (not exactly just anyone when it comes to engines) shared with Vettel for the most wins in a single season.

In this chronicle of a heralded success, the Red Bull team also shines in its own light. They have produced single-seaters capable of taking the two home drivers to the top two positions in the standings. But there is more. The philosophy of investing in and selecting young talent that guides Red Bull's choices is now famous not only in Formula 1, but in the world of sport in general. That's why Max was selected back in 2014 as a driver for the Red Bull Junior Team after conducting tests in a Formula Renault 3.5 and after being present in the Toro Rosso pit box at the Belgian Grand Prix in order to familiarise himself with the team dynamics, he took to the track driving a Formula 1 car for Friday practice at the Japanese Grand Prix. Considering who he has become today it undoubtedly makes a certain impression, but if we look back and rewind the tapes back a few years, and more precisely to 15 March 2015, we will see the class of '97 Max Verstappen making his Formula 1 debut behind the wheel of the Toro Rosso at just 17 years of age (to be clear, not yet old enough to take his driving licence exams). Shortly afterwards, in mid-2016, Max would be promoted to Red Bull Racing, with whom he is now - and until 2028 - bound by a pharaonic contract worth $40 million a year.

Verstappen, however, is not only an ace when it comes to the track, in fact he has also shown himself to be an excellent businessman. In the Netherlands, thanks to his being the first real motorsport champion, he is practically everywhere, but he is also highly coveted outside the country's borders. Max is the main sponsor of the supermarket chain Jumbo (recently embroiled in a scandal due to investigations into possible money laundering by CEO Frits Van Eerd), Tag Heuer makes watches especially for him, such as the 'Dark Lord' (a Tag Heuer Monaco in DLC titanium), he also represents Exact and is a sponsor of the sports broadcaster Ziggo Sport as well as clothing lines. Also in the fashion branch, the young Red Bull house phenomenon has launched his own brand called 'Unleash the Lion'.

What is looming on the horizon for Max Verstappen is a future as an absolute racing star, with his own dimension and strong image also on a commercial level, making him one of the new generational references of the entire world of sport.