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Rambler's Top100


Йос Ферстаппен

Verstappen, Jos

Йос Ферстаппен / Verstappen, Jos

(c) 'Who is Who' by Steve Small, 2000




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Ф1: 1994-2003

Йос Ферстаппен / Verstappen, Jos - 1994-2003




1994Mild Seven Benetton FordBenetton B194
Benetton B194
1995MTV Simtek FordSimtek S951
Simtek S951
1996Footwork HartFootwork FA17
Footwork FA17
1997PIAA TyrrellTyrrell 025
Tyrrell 025
1998HSBC Stewart FordStewart SF2
Stewart SF2
2000Orange ArrowsArrows A21
Arrows A21
2001Orange Arrows AsiatechArrows A22
Arrows A22
2003European Minardi CosworthMinardi PS03
Minardi PS03
Gazprom Minardi CosworthMinardi PS03
Minardi PS03

Despite his tender years and lack of racing experience, Verstappen has certainly seen plenty of highs and lows in his intermittent Grand Prix career, and he might have blossomed into a major talent had he found an environment in which his abilities were nurtured. At the time of writing, his Formula 1 prospects look bleak, the Dutchman having failed to make the most of the chances that have come his way.

The young Jos might not have pursued the path of motor sport at all after he was hospitalised following a bad crash in his first-ever kart race as a ten-year-old. Soon, however, the passion to compete was all-consuming, and he quickly became one of Europe's outstanding kart racers, before moving to Formula Opel Lotus in 1992. He demolished the opposition in the Benelux series, then turned his attention to the Euroseries, immediately putting the cat among the pigeons with his forceful and brilliant driving.

Naturally much sought after, he opted to race a WTS Dallara-Opel in the German F3 championship in 1993 and cut a swathe through the opposition in this class as well, winning eight races on his way to the title. Victory in the Marlboro Masters at Zandvoort helped attract the Formula 1 teams to his door and a test at Estoril for Footwork was so impressive that Benetton immediately moved to sign him on a long-term contract.

An injury to JJ Lehto meant that Verstappen's debut was not long in coming. Being thrown in at the deep end as number two to Michael Schumacher is not the easiest way to start a Grand Prix career, but Jos did well in the first two Grands Prix before Lehto returned. After the Finn's confidence had quickly been sapped, Verstappen was brought back into the team and soon made headline news worldwide when he escaped from a fiery inferno when his Benetton caught fire at a refuelling stop during the German GP. Luckily he suffered only minor burns and in the next race scored his first podium finish. His meteoric rise came to an abrupt halt when Benetton decided a proper learning season with Simtek was in order, but he once again caught the eye with some impressive qualifying performances in his short spell with the team before it folded.

In 1996 the young Dutchman restarted his GP career at Arrows, and caused quite a stir in the early-season races when he took the unfancied car into the top half of the timing sheets. Inevitably, as the year wore on, Verstappen struggled to impress as the Footwork, lacking in development, was overhauled by others. A move to Tyrrell should have brought more reward, but the team were plainly uncompetitive in 1997, and the hard-charging Verstappen could only take satisfaction that he was mostly the equal of his team-mate Mika Salo. Ken Tyrrell was impressed enough to want to retain the Dutchman's services for the following year and, having sold out to Craig Pollock, the former team owner resigned from the organisation when Jos was passed over in favour of pay-driver Ricardo Rosset. Luckily another F1 chance soon presented itself when Verstappen replaced the out-of-favour Jan Magnussen in the Stewart line-up in mid-1998. In his half-season with the outfit Jos fared little better than his hapless predecessor, and it seems that there was friction with team owner Jackie Stewart.

Harvey Postlethwaite certainly thought highly of Verstappen's talents and employed him to help in the development of Honda's Grand Prix challenger. Sadly the former Tyrrell guru's untimely death brought proceedings to a halt, and contributed to an about-face by the Japanese car giant, which took the project to British American Racing. For Verstappen, it was a return to his father's karting centre in Holland, where he was left tinkering with his beloved machines and waiting in hope for the phone call that might resurrect his career.

(c) 'Who is Who' by Steve Small, 2000

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