Jos Verstappen - Team MINARDI

Date of birth : 4 March 1972
Birthplace : Montfort
Marital status : Married to Sophie, 2 children
Height : 176 cm
Weight : 72 kg

Wins : 0
Points scored : 17
Number of GP : 91
Pole Position : 0
Podiums : 2
First GP : 1994 (Interlagos)
Best result : 3


Jos began his racing career at the age of eight like many other Formula One drivers have, in the world of Karts. In 1984 at the age of twelve, he won his first championship, the Dutch junior championship, an event he repeated two years later. It was 1989 that saw his most successful season, winning a large number of international races including several European titles. 

After seven successful years in the Karting series, 1992 saw Jos make his way into Formula Opel Lotus. Racing in the Benelux championship he rapidly became known as the man to watch, only once failing to score points due to an accident. Apart from that one time, he stole the show winning every time. Not only did he take the Benelux Championship that year, but also joined forces with Martijn Koene to win the Opel Lotus Nations Cup. He was elected the N.A.V. Dutch driver of the year in 1992 and was promised a Formula One test by Ken Tyrrell if he could win the F3 championship the following year. 

Choosing to race in the German Championship for the WTS team of Willy Weber in 1993 he won a total of eight victories that secured him the championship and at the end of the season, Jos received the invitation to test a Formula One car for the Arrows team. He was a wanted man in the eyes of the F1 teams, testing a McLaren at Silverstone and Eddie Jordan had also expressed his interest in the Dutchman. But, instead of signing a contract to drive in the 1994 season with any of the before mentioned teams, Jos opted to sign with Benetton. 

Benetton offered him a multi-year contract and for the first year he was to be their test driver, but when JJ Lehto crashed heavily during a test at Silverstone and was unable to start in the first few races of the season, as test driver, Jos was the obvious replacement. In only two years from the start of his first major race, Jos was thrown into the role of partnering Michael Schumacher. 

His debut race was as spectacular as it was memorable. While attempting to avoid the troubled car of Martin Brundle, he made contact with the Jordan of Eddie Irvine and the crash that ensued saw four cars forced into retirement. Irvine was handed a three-race ban for the incident and while JJ Lehto returned to the team two races later, he was again sidelined, leaving the door open for Jos from the French GP onwards. 

The German GP in that same year saw Jos once again involved in a spectacular incident, only this time it wasn't on the track, instead it was in the pits. When he came in for his first pit stop the refuelling equipment was malfunctioning which caused the accidental spillage of a few litres of fuel onto the red hot Benetton. The car was engulfed in flames but luckily, the Dutchman was able to escape from the car uninjured. In total he competed in ten races and finished up 10th overall with 10 points. Overall it was a very difficult season for the entire Benetton team. 

In 1995 he drove with Simtek-Ford, competing in only four races while also retaining his role as test driver for the Benetton team. His decline from the limelight continued as he signed to drive for Arrows in 96, scoring only one point for the entire season, but 97 was even worse, when, after switching to Tyrrell, he failed to score even that one solitary finish in the top six. 

The end came in 1998 after Ken Tyrrell sold the team to Craig Pollock. Wanting a driver that carried more sponsorship, Pollock hired Ricardo Rosset, leaving Jos high and dry. He was back to test driving for the Benetton team, until mid season, when Jackie Stewart was dissatisfied with Danish driver, Jan Magnussen, and hired Jos to replace him from the French Grand Prix. 

Left without a drive in 1999, Jos took up test duties for Honda, however this didn't pan out they way it was hoped when Harvey Postlewaite died half way through the program and the Japanese company opted to supply a team (BAR and then adding Jordan as well) instead of building their own car. Jos then returned to drive for the Arrows team once again, partnering Spanish driver, Pedro de la Rosa in the 2000 season. He had some strong drives throughout the year, however he finished 12th overall with only five points. Continuing on in 2001, Jos clocked up a remarkable record for overtaking. At the start of almost every race, he would put the power down and pass a remarkable amount of his rivals. Sadly, he was unable to capitalize on it too much and as 2002 was dawning, the team broke his contract and replaced him with Heinz-Harald Frentzen. 

Taking court action over the dismissal was consolation to a degree, however he was forced to watch the action unfold from the sidelines once again. Now, after months of speculation and hope, he has finally announced a deal to race with Minardi Ford in 2003, a move his fans will be hoping reignites his racing career once and for all. 

C A R E E R  H I G H L I G H T S

91/92 : Formula Opel.
1993 : Formula 3 and Formula Atlantic
1994 : Formula 1 (Benetton), 10th with 10 points.
1995 : Formula 1 (Simtek).
1996 : Formula 1 (Arrows), 9th with 1 point.
1997 : Formula 1 (Tyrrell).
1998 : Formula 1 (Stewart).
1999 : No drive.
2000 : Formula 1 (Arrows), 12th with 5 points.
2001 : Formula 1 (Arrows), 18th with 1 point.
2002 : Did not drive.




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