How a five-year-old Max Verstappen beat his racing dad Jos and why a ‘rejuvenated’ Fernando Alonso can still show his best… ex-F1 team boss Paul Stoddart recalls his time with both as well as how his famous underdog outfit Minardi could have WON a race

When the new Formula One season gets underway on Sunday, there will be a showcase of drivers on the grid that will epitome the sport’s past, present and future stars. ‘One of the only assets I had when I bought the team was Fernando Alonso’, Stoddart told Sportsmail. Alonso made his F1 debut under Stoddart at Minardi in 2001, with the team’s lack of investment prior showing with a car that was well off the pace. ‘I remember his last race for us at Suzuka,’ Stoddart added. ‘Young Max came to a two-seater day at Bruntingthorpe,’ Stoddart said. There were enough safety cars so that we didn’t have to come in for fuel. ‘So providing the race had a lot of safety cars which it did and providing the race didn’t go the full distance which it didn’t.

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