Jos Verstappen

Full Name:
Johannes Franciscus Verstappen
Born:
4th March 1972 (Age 47)
Montfort, Limburg
Nationality:
Dutch
Most recent race (in database):
Biography

Jos Verstappen was the Lewis Hamilton of 1994. He was thrust into Formula 1 in a car capable of winning the championship as second driver to a world star at the height of his powers. However, while Hamilton matched Fernando Alonso for performance and race wins in 2007, Verstappen was wild and wilted in champion-elect Michael Schumacher’s shadow.

Brief early racing career

Verstappen made his F1 debut having previously only started 52 motor races. Outstanding in karts, he dominated the 1992 Benelux Formula Opel Lotus Championship in his maiden season racing cars. He joined Opel Team WTS for the 1993 German Formula 3 Championship and won that title at the first attempt as well. Victory in the Marlboro Masters at Zandvoort seemed to confirm a new star.

Formula 1 with Benetton

He impressed in a test with Arrows and signed a long-term deal initially as Benetton’s reserve driver for the 1994 F1 season. However, he was drafted into the race team when J.J.Lehto was injured before the season had begun. Ninth on the grid for his debut in the Brazilian Grand Prix, the Dutchman’s F1 career began with a bang. He crashed into Eddie Irvine’s Jordan-Hart and was sent barrel-rolling out of the race with the Irishman banned for three races as a consequence.

The fit-again Lehto returned but failed to impress so Verstappen was restored to the race team from the French GP. Engulfed in a frightening pitstop fire in Germany, he did well to finish third in the next two GPs in Hungary and Belgium. However, that was not enough to save his future as a top-line F1 star.

Subsequent F1 opportunities

Dropped for the final two races of the year, Verstappen began 1995 at the back of the field with Simtek. The Dutchman showed some flashes of promise before the team ran out of sponsorship and closed.

Indefatigable, Verstappen returned with Tom Walkinshaw’s Footwork Arrows FA17-Hart in 1996. The Argentine GP provided the highlight with Verstappen qualifying seventh and finishing sixth on a rare occasion he lasted the distance.

He spent an unhappy season with Tyrrell a year later before replacing Jan Magnussen at Stewart-Ford mid-way through 1998. Those final two years yielded little except for frustration and an eighth place finish in the 1997 Monaco GP.

Return to Arrows and Minardi finale

After a year away – in which he tested for Honda as it considered a return to F1 – Verstappen was announced as lead driver for the ambitious Orange-sponsored Arrows team for 2000. He normally qualified well and finished fifth in Canada and fourth in Italy to remind onlookers of his skill and speed.

However, his sixth place in Austria was the only point scored by Arrows during a frustrating second season with the team. Verstappen spent a year away from F1 once more before returning in 2003 to soldier on with the back-of-the-grid Minardi PS03-Cosworth.

Life after Grand Prix racing

His F1 career ended with a whimper and was a far cry from his much-hyped arrival. Verstappen still maintained fanatical support that few could match. Everywhere he raced there was a large contingent of orange-clad vocal Dutchmen and that continued when he switched to A1GP in 2005. He won at Durban during the series’ inaugural campaign but Verstappen quit on the eve of the second season after a financial dispute with his team.

It was three years before he raced again with Van Merksteijn Motorsport’s LMP2 Porsche RS Spyder in the 2008 Le Mans Series. He won the class in that year’s Le Mans 24 Hours and four of the five championship rounds to clinch the LMP2 title as well.

He retired from racing in 2012, just as his son Max began to emerge as a future star in karting.

Championship seasons

Season Name Starts Poles Podiums Wins Position Points
2005/2006 A1GP World Cup of Motorsport
Racing For Holland
22 0 2 1
5% win rate
69
2003 F1 World Championship
Trust European Minardi
European Minardi F1
16 0 0 0
0% win rate
22nd 0
2001 F1 World Championship
Orange Arrows Asiatech
17 0 0 0
0% win rate
18th 1
2000 F1 World Championship
Orange Arrows F1 Team
17 0 0 0
0% win rate
12th 5
1998 F1 World Championship
Stewart Ford
9 0 0 0
0% win rate
0
1997 F1 World Championship
Tyrrell Racing Organisation
17 0 0 0
0% win rate
0
1996 F1 World Championship
Footwork Hart
16 0 0 0
0% win rate
16th 1
1995 F1 World Championship
MTV Simtek Ford
5 0 0 0
0% win rate
0
1994 F1 World Championship
Mild Seven Benetton Ford
10 0 2 0
0% win rate
10th 10
1993 German F3 Championship 1st -