Tuesday 20 April 2021

Teen racing driver Max Verstappen is officially Belgian, not Dutch

Toro Rosso Formula One driver Max Verstappen of the Netherlands sits in his car during the second practice session of the Australian F1 Grand Prix at the Albert Park circuit in MelbourneThe Dutch may be quick to claim him as their own, but teenage Formula 1 racing driver Max Verstappen is actually Belgian, according to Belgian media.

Verstappen was born in Belgium to a Dutch father and Belgian mother and only has a Belgian ID card, mother Sophie Kumpen says. And she should know, Belgian sports magazine Helden points out, because she had to sign his Formula 1 contract last year as Max is still a minor.

Despite this, in the official results of this weekend’s Malaysia Grand Prix, Max is listed as a Dutchman because he is racing under the Dutch flag.

He may live in Belgium and travel on a Belgian passport but Max told Belgian newspaper Nieuwsblad last year: ‘I have lived in Belgium my entire life, but I consider myself more Dutch.

‘As a result of my karting activities I spend more time with my father than with my mother. I’m always surrounded by Dutchmen.’

There is hope for the Dutch to reclaim the youngest Grand Prix racer ever. On September 30 Max turns 18 and can then opt to become Dutch, says his mother, who is divorced from his racing driver father Jos.

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