Perché Max Verstappen è migliore del resto – Paul Stoddart, the former owner of the Minardi Formula 1 team, has spoken out about Max Verstappen’s performance in an exclusive interview with the Dutch edition of and feels validated in his 2017 prediction that the Dutchman would win “multiple World Championships” in the premier class.

“That wasn’t wrong!” he says when asked about his previous statement, adding, “He will win this year and he will win next year. That is guaranteed unless something stupid happens. That would make him a five-time World Champion.”

“And afterwards, in 2026, none of us knows, because it all depends on who is leading in terms of engines. I’m betting on either Mercedes or Ferrari. But who knows, it could also be Red Bull. Well, we shall see.”

Stoddart: What sets Verstappen apart

Stoddart, who worked with Jos Verstappen during his time at Minardi, recognized early on the immense talent that son Max brought to motorsport. “He was always good. I’ve known him since he was six years old, and he was already good back then. He beat his father in a Formula 1 simulator when his father was racing for me.”

“He has perfected the art of simply moving forward. He is never content with what he has actually achieved. That’s all in the past. He focuses 110% on the future, race by race. And that’s what makes him so good. He finds that extra tenth, he finds those few tenths more. And that’s the difference between victory and defeat. And you have to have the car, and he definitely has the car.”

Verstappen too dominant? Stoddart suggests a solution

The current dominance of Verstappen has also led to criticism, as despite new rules in 2022 and the introduction of a budget cap and a handicapping system in aerodynamic development, Formula 1 has not managed to provide variety at the top.

According to Stoddart, for the future, one could consider introducing a weight penalty to bring the field even closer together. “It is unfortunately true [that there are complaints] when a team or driver dominates year after year. There are ways to change that. I mean, I would be in favor of something like a 5kg penalty for the reigning World Champion.”

“That would be enough to level the playing field. And the good ones will still manage it, without issues. But it’s difficult, because then you start to compromise the purity of the sport. In Bernie’s time, he just made sure things changed after a few years, and it wasn’t so easy. But we live in a different world now, so it’s a difficult question.”

Stoddart expects new dominance in 2026

For the new regulations in 2026, when both aerodynamics and engines in Formula 1 are adjusted, the Australian speculates that either Mercedes or Ferrari will rise to the top of the field and another period of dominance will ensue.

“With a formula change or a major switch in engines, there is probably only one team that will emerge victorious,” he explains. “And that team will likely dominate for years, like Mercedes did in 2014. Right now, we have the situation where Max is dominating and Red Bull, and as I said earlier, he will win this year and next year as well, because while the regulations remain the same, nothing else will change.”

Even though he has not been active in Formula 1 since selling the Minardi team to Toro Rosso at the end of the 2005 season, Stoddart closely watches the current events because “I love Max more than anything, so I’m happy he’s winning. But the rest of the race is also exciting. From one race to the next, you don’t know who will finish in second to tenth place.”

“Perhaps people ask or say that you should only focus on the winner. But you don’t. You watch the entire competition. Is it exciting? Can you feel the suspense? And the answer is yes. The places from two to ten are really exciting to watch. But 2026 will be a real test, and you won’t know, you will have no idea who will be at the top.”