The former pioneer of Formula One, Bernie Ecclestone, recently expressed his admiration for Dutch racing sensation Max Verstappen, asserting that he believes Verstappen holds the esteemed title of the greatest driver in the history of the sport.
Ecclestone, a prominent figure in the Formula One scene, closely observed the unfolding drama of the Brazilian Grand Prix at the Sao Paulo circuit this past Sunday. Verstappen, showcasing his prowess as a member of the Red Bull team, clinched his 52nd career victory at the iconic Interlagos circuit, solidifying his grip on a remarkable third consecutive title in F1.
In an exclusive interview with the Dutch National Public Service (NOS), Ecclestone lauded Verstappen's impact on the sport's popularity and advancement in the Netherlands, citing it as a pivotal factor in the resurgence of the Zandvoort competition.
"Max is the best driver in the history of F1. And his influence is huge on the popularity and progress of this sport in the Netherlands, thus the return of the competition in Zandvoort," emphasized Ecclestone. All of Verstappen's triumphs have come under the banner of the Red Bull team, a testament to his exceptional skill and consistency on the track.
Reflecting on his tenure overseeing F1, Ecclestone acknowledged the tumultuous past of Zandvoort as a challenging track for racers. "During my time in charge of F1, it was chaos, Zandvoort was a bad track for racers. There were others similar back then, but I liked her the least.
So many ugly things happened there, and now I hope that all of that is behind us," he remarked. Looking ahead to the future of F1, Ecclestone expressed his satisfaction with the positive trajectory of the Dutch Grand Prix and its organization.
Crediting Verstappen and other key contributors, he foresees Zandvoort remaining on the calendar as long as Max is in competition. However, he did raise concerns about the feasibility of maintaining 24 races in the upcoming F1 calendar, hinting at potential adjustments.
"Now I'm glad to come to the Netherlands; the Grand Prix of that country is getting better and better, the organization as well. Thanks to Verstappen, but also to other important people who contributed. But Zandvoort will be on the calendar as long as Max is competing, but we will lose some races because 24 is too much on the calendar," Ecclestone concluded.
As the F1 championship gears up for the upcoming Las Vegas Grand Prix on November 18, Verstappen stands atop the overall driver standings with an impressive 524 points, further solidifying his claim to the title of the sport's greatest driver.