Max Verstappen has admitted his father is taking a back seat now that he has secured a future at a top F1 team.
The 18-year-old stepped up from Toro Rosso earlier this year, won in Barcelona and has now secured at least two further years at Red Bull Racing.
So for the first time in Max’s 27-race F1 career, his father and former F1 driver Jos is not in Azerbaijan this weekend.
“I talk to him quite a lot on the phone,” Max told De Telegraaf newspaper.
“Because I’m with a top team now, he can do less during a grand prix weekend. At Toro Rosso it was necessary but now he’s a bit bored,” he added.
Max said his father is better off at home in Belgium with his two-year-old daughter – Max’s half-sister – Blue Jaye.
“For me not a lot has changed,” said Max, “because I didn’t see my father a lot during a race weekend anyway. I’m busy with the engineers and in meetings.
“I was only talking with him in the evening at the hotel and in the morning on the way to the track,” he added.
Verstappen said he has been travelling to grands prix with a group of F1 drivers on a jet organised by Nico Rosberg. The group includes Daniel Ricciardo, Felipe Massa, Esteban Gutierrez, David Coulthard and others.
“It’s convenient but also nice to form a bond with certain drivers outside of the race weekend,” said Max. “We don’t just talk about formula one: Felipe’s son for example has just started karting, which is nice to hear about.”
Baku, however, is not Red Bull’s happiest hunting ground, as it is the Mercedes-powered teams expected to dominate on the two-kilometre straight.
“A couple of chicanes would be nice,” Max smiled.