Max Verstappen’s race engineer Xevi Pujolar says the Dutch youngster is the best driver he has worked with in his career, despite working together for just a few months.
After a series of practice appearances at the tail end of 2014, Verstappen tested the new Toro Rosso STR10 for the first time at the opening pre-season test at Jerez.
Pujolar has worked with Mark Webber, Juan Pablo Montoya and Eddie Irvine in the past, but says Verstappen is the most impressive driver he has worked with, ahead of the 17-year-old’s Formula 1 debut.
“He’s the best I’ve seen so far,” Pujolar told GPUpdate. “You can see the potential is there. You can see he’s going up. Now he needs to deliver.
“He’s here to be in the points all the time. He’s got the talent. He’s fast. But from being fast to winning races is a big gap. And from winning races to becoming a champion is another big step.
“He’s shown that he can do well in previous championships but now he’s got a lot of champions around him and he has to show that he’s the best of the champions. He needs to develop in a very short period of time.”
Pujolar was keen to praise the Dutch youngster’s work ethic and commitment.
“Some guys might be 10 or 15 years in motorsports, or even in Formula One, and their level of professionalism will never be as good as Max’s at the moment,” he explained.
“One thing that’s very impressive with him is how much discipline he has and how focused he is.
“A lot of young drivers are also thinking about other things like going out. With Max it’s only about racing.
“He wants to be the best and he works 100 per cent for that. He wants the people around him to work just as hard.
“He’s pushing the engine guys, he’s pushing me and he’s pushing the team.”
This article first appeared on Richland F1 – Image courtesy of Scuderia Toro Rosso