Whilst everything is going perfectly for Oracle Red Bull Racing‘s Max Verstappen on the circuit, there could be a sizeable issue brewing off it, after the Dutchman’s long-time personal sponsor had their owner and CEO paid a visit by police.
According to Eindhoven news, the CEO and owner of Dutch supermarket chain Jumbo (which sponsors Verstappen), Frits van Eerd, had their house raided by police following what has been described as a “large money laundering scandal”.
Based on reports by Eindhoven news, money laundering by Van Eerd was detected through online transactions, including, motorsport. There is a very large chance that this has absolutely nothing to do with Verstappen; however, Van Eerd is an extremely influential figure in Dutch motorsport, with the Jumbo CEO and owner having connections to Nyck de Vries as well as being the main sponsor for endurance side Racing Team Nederland.
According to local reports from the area, nine people have been arrested, including, Van Eerd himself. Whilst all nine are currently only suspects, Van Eerd did spent a night in prison; however, Jumbo have since said that he was simply there as a witness.
Having helped drivers like Verstappen and De Vries through the junior categories, Van Eerd decided to give racing a go himself and created the endurance team in 2017. People such as De Vries, Rubens Barrichello, Guido van der Garde, Jans Lammers and Job van Uytert have all driven for the Racing Team Nederland.
Verstappen’s manager Raymond Vermeulen has urged for “caution”, with the Dutchman’s team set to wait for the “facts to be on the table” before making a decision on the sponsor.
“Caution is in order here,” Vermeulen told Algemeen Dagblad newspaper.
“We are waiting for the facts to be on the table. We have been in contact with Jumbo and the management and marketing will continue as usual.”
Vermeulen isn’t expecting any of the investigation to affect the reigning World Champion, who has agreements with the supermarket and not Van Eerd himself. Despite this. Vermeulen still wants the “facts to come out” before commenting any further.
“We have agreements with Jumbo, and the supermarket is not part of the investigation. That was clearly stated,” he said.
“Let’s be careful with all kinds of suggestive things and wait for the facts to come out.”
Should Van Eerd remain as just a witness then everything should remain okay; however, should he be arrested then this could see a number of drivers in need of a new personal sponsor.