Max Verstappen is on the fast track to multi-million euro stardom, according to his manager Raymond Vermeulen.
The 18-year-old rookie sensation revealed this week that he moved to the tax haven of Monaco last month, even though it appears his actual salary – believed to be clearly less than half a million euros – has not yet changed.
‘Yet’ is the operative word.
“Max’s marketing value is already worth millions,” manager Verneulen, who also managed the career of the Toro Rosso driver’s father and mentor Jos, told De Telegraaf newspaper.
Indeed, Verstappen is not only being obviously courted by top F1 teams like Mercedes and Ferrari, he is also being targeted by companies and multinationals that are keen to align with F1’s hottest young talent.
“I think in terms of television exposure throughout the season, Toro Rosso is in the top three, which says it all,” said Vermeulen.
He admitted that while his search for financial backing for Verstappen was initially difficult, now the phone is ringing off the hook.
“Max is hot property and it shows,” said Vermeulen. “In the last months the interest has been increasing internationally.”
He insisted that the loyalty of Verstappen’s existing personal sponsors is important, but that the value of associating with Max is now so much higher.
“We do not have a rate card, but it is clear that we are not talking about a Saturday league,” said Vermeulen. “F1 is global and our rates are correspondingly competitive.”
But for now, Verstappen is under firm contract to Red Bull and Vermeulen says he has no problem with that.
“We have no hurry. Max is fine for now at Toro Rosso and Red Bull, as for us the sporting interests always come first,” he said.
And he said that he needs more time to evaluate the corporate field anyway.
“Max as a person is pure, no-nonsense and that is a strength,” said Vermeulen. “We only want brands that suit him. We do not compromise on that.”