In a recent interview with Dutch magazine Formule 1, Formula 1 legend Felipe Massa shared his insights on the perfect teammate for Max Verstappen at Red Bull Racing. Massa, a seasoned observer of the sport, weighed in on the dynamics within the team and the challenges that lie ahead.
“When you’re in a position like Max Verstappen, you want as little change as possible around you,” remarked Massa, emphasizing the importance of stability in Verstappen’s pursuit of further championships.
With no major rule changes expected in Formula 1 until 2026, Red Bull Racing aims to capitalize on their current advantage over the competition. The team’s focus is not only on Verstappen securing additional titles but also on maintaining their stronghold on the constructor’s title.
“Verstappen could go into 2026 as a five-time world champion, and if that’s the case, catching and even overtaking Michael Schumacher and Lewis Hamilton is a realistic possibility,” Massa noted, highlighting the potential historic achievements for the Dutch driver.
However, as the competition from other teams intensifies, there’s speculation about potential changes in Red Bull Racing’s driving personnel, particularly if Sergio Perez struggles to improve his form.
Massa offered his perspective on the matter, suggesting that introducing a faster driver might not be the best solution, even if they do not challenge Verstappen directly.
“Max is visibly feeling good and wins almost every race. For him, any change would mean a deterioration,” Massa asserted. “What Max is showing this season is incredibly good, of an unprecedented level. Even if you put Lewis Hamilton or Fernando Alonso in Red Bull’s other car, I’m not sure much would change. Maybe a little bit, but believe me, they wouldn’t beat Max either.”
While Massa’s comments might suggest a potential lack of competitiveness from other top drivers alongside Verstappen, the article acknowledges that both Hamilton and Alonso, if teammates, would likely harbor aspirations of challenging for the title.
Despite rumors surrounding Alonso joining Red Bull being dismissed, Massa acknowledged the Spaniard’s undeniable talent. Nevertheless, the article highlights the difficulty of driving for Red Bull, as demonstrated by past drivers like Alex Albon and Pierre Gasly, who showcased their speed after leaving the team.
In assessing Verstappen’s current teammate, Sergio Perez, Massa’s perspective is acknowledged, noting the Mexican driver’s two race wins compared to Verstappen’s 17 in 2023, supporting Massa’s argument for stability over outright speed in the second Red Bull seat.