Max Verstappen to become youngest ever F1 driver with Toro Rosso in 2015

2015 F1 season

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Max Verstappen, the 16-year-old Formula Three driver and son of former F1 racer Jos Verstappen, will make his Formula One debut for Toro Rosso next year.

The team has confirmed Verstappen will drive for them next year alongside Daniil Kvyat, replacing Jean-Eric Vergne.

Verstappen, who was signed to Red Bull junior programme last year, is currently in his first year driving single seaters having graduated from kart racing. He will be 17 when he makes his F1 debut, making him the youngest driver to compete in the world championship.

His rapid promotion to their Formula One programme moves him past the three other drivers on Red Bull’s young driver programme: Formula Renault 3.5 points leader Carlos Sainz Jnr, GP3 points leader Alex Lynn, and Pierre Gasly, currently third in Formula Renault 3.5.

Despite Verstappen’s lack of experience, Toro Rosso team principal Franz Tost says Red Bull “consider Max to be as one of the most skilled young drivers of the new generation and we believe he has the necessary maturity and mental strength to take on this challenge successfully”.

“Bearing in mind that Scuderia Toro Rosso was created with the aim of bringing young talent from the Red Bull Junior Team into Formula One and to educate them,” Tost added, “it will now be up to us to provide Max with a competitive car, which will enable him to have the best possible start to his Formula One career”.

Tost added his thanks to Vergne, who will leave the team after his third year in F1. “He has produced strong performances, but unfortunately he was also hindered by some reliability problems, especially in the first half of the current season.”

“We hope that we have resolved these problems and that he will be able to end the second half of this season on a high note and thereby show that he still deserves another opportunity in Formula One.”

Verstappen said: “First of all I would like to thank Dr Helmut Marko and Red Bull for all their trust and giving me the chance to make my Formula debut in 2015 with Scuderia Toro Rosso,” he said. “Ever since I was seven years old, Formula One has been my career goal, so this opportunity is truly a dream come true.”

“There are several people that have helped me throughout the years and still support me to this day and I want to sincerely thank them. First of all a big thanks to my father Jos, who has always been by my side, day and night, year after year.

“Of course I’m very thankful for all my sponsors who’ve believed in my talent and supported me in these financially difficult times. I hope that I can maintain a wonderful collaboration with them as I embark on this exciting new phase in my career. I also want to thank my manager Raymond Vermeulen, for all his efforts in making this agreement possible.

“Finally, thanks to all the teams in the various karting and single-seater categories for their vital help and support. Without them, I wouldn’t be where I am today.

“We’ve all worked tremendously hard to reach Formula 1 and I will give my absolute best to be successful in the pinnacle of motorsport. With the return of the Verstappen name to Formula One, I hope we can relive old memories and I’m hoping to see many fans at all the grand prix circuits.”

Verstappen is poised to emulate his father by making a very early Formula One debut. Jos Verstappen had started 52 single-seater races when he started his first grand prix at Brazil in 1994. Max has competed in 40 races since graduating from karts last year.

See the updated list of 2015 F1 drivers and teams

In the video above Verstappen was speaking after joining Red Bull’s driver programme but before his F1 drive was announced.

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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187 comments on “Max Verstappen to become youngest ever F1 driver with Toro Rosso in 2015”

  1. Am I the only person who thinks that 16 is a bit too young for F1?

    1. Sorry, make that 17. Reading fail.

      1. Honestly, I think it should not be allowed by the FIA.

        1. Indeed, that’s way too young IMO. 18 should be the bare minimum.

          1. He is too young for f1 everybody knows it. Max Verstappen hasnt proved yet he is capable of competing in f1, he not even won the f3 he is second, he is only been 1 year in single seaters!! Vettel when he skipped GP2 or world series by renault he was doing only f1 testing for several years and he was doing at the same time the f3 championship for third year which he lost to Di Resta… But then with lot of experience in f1 he won 4 world titles, with one of the best cars in history of f1… Is he burn now? U never know with this youngsters that enter so fast the top competition. In motogp it happens that, the younger they enter the faster they burn. They enter with 15 or 16. With 28 they are burned and ready to go to lower competition to make their career more long. The case of Max Verstappen remembers me to the case of Jaime Alguersuari, which he entered without any important experience the f1, he did well, but when he was ready to step up for Mark Webber, they fear that Vettel dont win anymore, because Alguersuari could break the team chemistry (Buemi too), so they fired him from Toro Rosso and prepared 2 more unenexperienced drivers so they dont pressure Red Bull to change second driver.
            So the big question now is what will happen with the second seat of Toro Rosso, will Kvyat mantain the seat, or will they give it to Carlos Sainz jr (he is doing good in the world series by renault), or will Carlos go to Caterham? Strange decision of Toro Rosso i always though they pair of drivers was going to be Kvyat and Sainz jr. This breaks absolutely all… And what they seen in Max Verstappen to give him the Toro Rosso wheel from next year, may be he done some simulator and breaked all records of the youngsters… I dont know. But even with the best driver in years Lewis Hamilton, McLaren took sometime, and he make the debut in f1 after serious competition and wins in everything he competed, he made his debut with 22 years old. And with the tools to win every f1 championship since then.
            I think if Max Verstappen is very good prospect, he will deliver most sure, like the cases of Vettel and Alonso who skipped top competition categories to be in f1, but doing lot of f1 testing before getting into a car, several years of testing. Or the other tendency is precook the drivers well so they step up in f1 with all the tools to win f1, like the cases of the old champions, where they didnt give the big cars to kids, because that car will kill them if they mistake (in modern f1 the cars are much more easy to drive, and the mistakes dont kill anybody, last death was in 1994, 20 years ago), or more recently cases of Hamilton, Di Resta, Sutil, Sergio Perez, Esteban Gutierrez, Maldonado, Grosjean and most youngsters that enter f1, thats the most wise decision for teams because they showed their level before f1, and they demonstrated they are good drivers.

          2. Hamilton, best driver in years… lol.

          3. Ingram de Bergerac
            15th May 2016, 18:31


        2. +1.

          What’s next, 10 year old kids ?!? Minimum age for F1 drivers should be 18. I find a lot more important for road-relevancy keeping F1 “in the legality” of public roads rules rather than 18”-20” wheels relevancy.

      2. Not sure it really matters whether 16 or 17, but you have a good point that it does seem like getting him in far too early, much like i thought it would be too early when Sauber wanted Sirotkin in for this year already.

        Sure, Verstappen Jr. does seem to be very matured for his age, but I think having a year where everything does not go to plan greatly helps a driver to develop, like what Magnussen had in his first season of WSR 3.5 before being very convincing in his second season there. On the other hand, I am a bit curious to see how this one goes.

    2. I don’t agree. Age limits are notorious in my opinion for equating age to ability and maturity as a sort of universal constant, which is far from the case. I for one would consider my level of maturity to be above the average of my age group (not necessarily with respect to driving ability, but with other things like knowledge of politics).

      If he has the racing ability (which he has demonstrated), and is adequately equipped to cope with the pressures and abide by the sporting code (which I see no reason not to be the case for), then sign him.

      The only other parameter worth considering is body development – if they would be able to cope with a high g-force impact in the same way an 18+ year-old would. But these drivers are racing in single sweaters anyway at near his age, so I doubt that would be a decisive factor.

      1. @vettel1 Good stuff, cheers. A voice of reason!

        1. You’re not exactly the best judge of your own level of maturity. You may well believe you know it all, as many young people do. But it is a scientific fact that brains progressively develop and are not fully developed until a person reaches their mid 20’s. That having been said, it would be ridiculous to say to F1 drivers they cannot race until their brain has fully developed, so some common sense needs to prevail. I personally believe 16 or 17 is too young to be racing a F1 car. Even 18 and 19 is questionable. At these ages a person has limited understanding of the consequences of their actions and lacks a mature understanding of their own mortality.

      2. There is one BIG problem with this trend, and that problem is “driver weight” if we follow this trend we may find pre-puberty 12 year olds starting a career as F1 drivers only to be discarded at 15 when they no-longer have a weight advantage over the next up and coming 12 year old.

        1. just as horse riding.

          1. They use little robots in camel racing – maybe the Playstation generation will be along soon to take over the seats.

      3. If an 8 yr old shows he/she can drive an F1 car, should he/she be signed on?
        I understand what you are trying to say with regards to age and maturity but a line clearly should be drawn especially when it comes to the age of drivers allowed to compete in F1 – the highest level of motorsport.
        Age rightly should be a major criteria, if not F1 will look like the camel racers of the middle east.
        If 16yrs is good enough, then a 10 yr old who is exceptionally good at karting and other series should be allowed to drive an F1 car when such comes along.

      4. You believing you are more mature than others may well be a sign of immaturity. Setting an age limit may not be perfect but it’s better in my eyes than letting the teams decide, it at least allows some extra time, a year or 2 makes a big difference to a young person. Imagine, in at 17, dumped at 18-19 when the next hot shoe comes along.

    3. petebaldwin (@)
      19th August 2014, 9:35

      Honestly I don’t see a problem with him being 17. Plenty of drivers have started as 19 year olds and several of them went on to become Champions.

      Motorsport is dangerous at all levels so I don’t see any reason why he shouldn’t be in F1 providing he’s good enough. He’s only had one year in Formula 3 but 8 wins in 27 races suggests he knows what he’s doing.

      I suppose if he was getting a seat at another team, I might be a bit more unsure but having found Vettel and Ricciardo in addition to Kvyat, JEV, Algusuari and Buemi, I think Red Bull have shown they know what they are doing.

      To be honest, I imagine they might have planned against giving him a seat but Mercedes tried to poach him with the offer of paying for a seat at Marussia or Caterham and Red Bull had to act to get him on the books….

      1. You were spot on! 😁

    4. The only thing I can think about is MONEY. The pink floyd track. I think if youngsters manage not to get jaded or over confident they should do better than people older with more insecurities. Confidence can lead you to great things just look at 2nd place by Mag in Australia.

    5. I can’t help but feel a bit sorry for JEV — he basically matched Ricciardo last year (who is currently spanking Vettel), now out of a drive.

  2. 17… That’s quite young, can he even get his superlicence?

    Quite convenient that they don’t have to change the 3 letters in the timing-graphics, from VER to VER :P

    1. Maarten van Berge Henegouwen (@)
      18th August 2014, 21:13

      VER – great observation

      1. i think they’ll change verstappens abbreviation so it doesn’t get confused with vergnes. i think they might have VSP or VST or MAX (in order to avoid confusion they’ll change chiltons to M4X)

        1. I wouldn’t think so – unless there is some sort of precedent…

          I’m assuming that Vergne won’t find another seat (although he would be a fair match for Button at McLaren imo) and therefore there shouldn’t be too much confusion

        2. I think they will change it to VST to avoid confusion. Just like they did when both Michael and Ralf raced in F1.

    2. Very young, and crazy to think who he will be racing against. It will be interesting to see if he can cope with the pressure of it all :D

      We all thought 19 was young!

      Imagine if he ends up racing in F1 until he is 40!

    3. @pluisje He won’t have a road licence in his home country – at least not one that allows him to drive unaccompanied:

      Surely that must be a first for an F1 driver? Or is there some nation which has had an F1 driver which has an usually high minimum driving age?

      1. Taking a quick look here:

        I don’t see anything above 18 for a full licence (except for Maine & D.C. in the USA, but we haven’t had any young drivers from there), so it must be a first indeed :)

      2. I believe you can get your drivers license as soon as the age of 17, BUT until you are 18; it doesn’t come into effect and you need to drive with a L.

        1. @turbof1 – I don’t have my licence but in Australia you can start driving when you are at 17 with L at 16

      3. I’m not really sure that a kid that should still be in school should be a full time professional race car driver, in any series.

        1. No one complains about that in football, and messi signed his first contract with barcelona when he was way younger than Max. As for being 17 and racing in F1.. whell, at least he have more races under his belt than Kimi did when he first signed for Lotus, or even button for that matter. I don’t think the age should be an issue, let’s see how he performs before any veredict

          1. I don’t follow football, but I don’t agree with kids in any sport abandoning school to follow a potential professional sporting career. Finish school then follow the professional sporting career. If you’re good at 16, you’ll still be good at 18, 19.

    4. It seems 16 is the minimum age for most FIA licences. Room for Marko to introduce another prodigy if Max doesn’t work out.


      To be eligible for an FIA International Driver’s Licence, with the
      exception of the FIA Junior-C Grade Off-Road licence, applicants must be at least 16 years old (the date of the birthday being binding).

    5. Michael Brown (@)
      18th August 2014, 23:42

      Alternatively, they could use MVE (using MSC as the precedent).

      1. That’s because there was RSC.

        1. Michael Brown (@)
          19th August 2014, 14:08

          But when MSC made his comeback, RSC was already retired. But now that I think of it, Kevin Magnussen uses MAG, not KMA, even though his father was an F1 racer.

    6. VERy good

    7. @pluisje I think it’s JEV and not VER.

  3. A 17 year old Formula One driver?

    1. Aditya (@adityafakhri)
      19th August 2014, 2:11

      I got a mixed feeling on this, really. He definitely got talent but, do they have to raise him a promotion that quickly? wow.
      I knew that Vettel got his first F1 experience on 17 then racing on 19, Ricciardo got his first on 19, and racing next year, while Kvyat directly jumped into the ship on 19 too. I got the impression that Red Bull is getting more confident with their young drivers somehow, but maybe they pushed the limit too far. Heck, Max getting the queue out of line so quickly, I can’t imagine what were Sainz, Lynn, and Gasly felt. Not only them, but it also a hit for GP2 drivers in an age of 20-24. They maybe have to re-evaluate their future after this string of kids got F1 seat.
      it’s just like football now, every team in a rush to give a talented academy graduate as soon as possible, only playing with another 10 lads, when in racing you’re driving on your own!

      1. Not only them, but it also a hit for GP2 drivers in an age of 20-24.

        Then again, RBR isn’t responsible for all the other drivers. They sign their talents, they bring them into F1, and they’re doing a good job with that.
        It’s up to the other teams to sign the other big talents and bring them into F1.

        Ferrari have done a terrible job at employing their youths. Sure, Bianchi is in a Marussia (hurrah) but they had the chance to bring one of their talents (Bianchi?) in next to Alonso this year but they didn’t. In the end, neither of their current drivers is a product of their youth programme.
        McLaren seems to be doing somewhat better, but all in all they haven’t brought in anyone other than Hamilton and the Magnussens in the last 15-20 years.

        The other teams have to make do with their relatively small budgets (for Mercedes it’s too soon to judge) and so they often even don’t have the choice to really pick the talent of their liking, making the decision center about having money as well.

        1. True they aren’t responsible to other drivers, but I do feel that they have, or should have a duty of care to their own drivers. 16 / 17 year kids should still be in school, getting an education, so just in case their racing career doesn’t work out they don’t turn into burnt out washed up ex racers with no career options at age 21.

          1. What they decide and discuss between themselves is unknown to us. I know Vettel has at least finished high school – does Hamilton (representing the McLaren junior programme) have any diploma’s higher than that?

        2. @mattds
          Ferrari is a different reality than RBR, Ferrari always hires the best driver available with the support of another good driver (now they have changed this mentality), the thing is Maranello is an electric place by nature full of politics, a place in which you can smell the pressure straight away. Do you expect a rookie who needs to learn the ABC’s of F1 to support that kind of pressure.

          1. Do you expect a rookie who needs to learn the ABC’s of F1 to support that kind of pressure.

            It wouldn’t be the first time it happened. So yes, I would expect Ferrari to value their own junior programme. I’m not saying to bring someone in directly from lower series, but there were drivers in F1 available who originated from their junior programme.

  4. So what do they give him if he finishes on the podium? Milk?

    17 is ridiculously young for a Formula One driver. The guy is clearly good, but I fear his career could be over by the time he is 20 in the same way Alguersuari had his career halted aged 21.

    1. I guess if he does flop he’s got a better chance at a second bite of the cherry but I still think that’s far too young.

      Speaking of Alguersuari whatever happened to him after his sacking, he was by no means a bad driver and probably deserves a second shot.

      1. He is going to race in Formula E this year

      2. @davef1 became a DJ for a bit, returning to racing this year with Virgin in FE

    2. More to the point, what if he is involved in a bad accident. A minor is racing with adults. Professionally. If there is an accident, the legal problems could be horrendous. Even if some sponsors don’t get cold feet, I can’t imagine the FIA will allow a minor to race in the senior motorsport event. He’d need his parents’ permission for goodness sakes.

    3. Michael Brown (@)
      18th August 2014, 23:43

      He’ll be allowed to spray the champagne but not drink it. In 2011, Vettel was under the legal drinking age in Turkey (24).

      1. Didn’t know that, thanks :)

      2. @lite992 @paeschli
        Actually the legal drinking age in Turkey is 18. The 24 age limit refers to sale of alcohol at different events. Apparently, having looked this up in more detail, that restriction on sales was imposed in January 2011 but lifted after a court ruling on May 25th. The race was held on May 8th. The drinking age was and still is 18 though.

    4. @craig-o that kid is good. He clearly is WDC material but I think Red Bull rushed a bit. Mercedes was reportedly trying to hire Max and eventually had a strong offer on the table so, to beat them, Red Bull gave the kid a race seat…

      Poor Sainz Junior…

    5. WilliamB (@william-brierty)
      19th August 2014, 12:27

      @craig-o It is madness beyond all comparison. Red Bull’s Junior Team has become Single Seaters Got Talent, where eye-catching and crucially well-publicized exploits earn F1 contracts, and warm manure is poured over the hitherto exciting careers of Carlos Sainz, and Alex Lynn, and Pierre Gasly, and Jean-Eric Vergne, and Antonio Felix da Costa…

      As for experience, whilst Kvyat had little knowledge of a powerful single seater, Max has none. This year he is driving a ten year old Dallara F3 chassis, next year he’ll be driving not one of the fastest cars in circulation, but the second volume of the most recalcitrant F1 cars since the ’80s. I’ve been a big fan of what Max has managed this year, but he will crumble…even with “the Boss” by his side. And with Kvyat he doesn’t exactly have an experienced team leader as a benchmark. Ultimately the removal of Vergne will damage Kvyat’s career, and premature promotion will damage Max’s. Period.

      Hopefully once the smoke has cleared from the 2015 pipe dream Max will be able to get his career back on track and re-enter F1 with his reputation not damaged unduly, and hopefully young drivers will recognize how abysmally Red Bull treat their “contestants” and opt for Ferrari, McLaren, Williams, Lotus or Force India support instead…

      And I wonder why I woke up with a stomach ache this morning…

      1. And today, May 15 2016, how do you feel?

      2. Halfway the season 2019. Boy have you been proven wrong by now

  5. I agree that 17 may be too young, but then again we were saying the same thing about Kvyat last year, and look how well he’s done this year, considering that Toro Rosso have terrible reliability right now.

  6. I just hope it doesn’t ruin his career if he ends up being thrust too far, too fast up the ladder.

  7. Wow….17! I’m pleased for him as a person, to be making your racing debut is fantastic. I trust he is a great talent and I just hope Red Bull haven’t rushed this. I personally think he will be a success but could a year or two in a feeder series be better for him and then comes in well prepared. Putting this aside, I’m pleased for Max and I hope he proves my little doubts wrong. So what will come of JEV, also Sainz jr amongst other Red Bull young drivers. I can’t see Max or Dani going anywhere other than Toro Rosso rapidly for now.

  8. An F1 driver younger than me. I’m starting to feel old. :-/

    1. He’s actually half my age… imagine how that feels!

    2. Wait until ALL the drivers are younger than you.

      When Jenson and Kimi retire, that unhappy day will come for me, and I’ll be ready for a Zimmer frame (or will feel like I am).

    3. Me too, I’m a few months younger than Kvyat but now I’m starting to feel old :P

  9. I knew there’ll be a moment when people younger than me will be racing in F1, but I didn’t expect it to come so early… I’m just a year older than Max…

    1. I’m younger by less than three months. I was wuite shocked at the announcement when I realised that!

    2. That unfortunate moment came to me when Kvyat joined.

  10. Daz Bundesad1er
    18th August 2014, 21:17

    Only the results will tell us if Dr Helmut Marko is right or wrong.

  11. sainz and lynn will be devastated hearing this. i expected either of them to move up but i don’t mind seeing verstappen in that toro rosso. he’s a very exciting prospect, and red bull secured their future by signing him. he and kvyat will undoubtedly give red bull some more great results in the future. could be a race for vettels seat between them, if he goes to ferrari or anywhere else.

    1. @rigi Don’t forget Gasly.

  12. Can’t help but think that Marko rushed in a bit with Verstappen. I’m all for seeing fresh, new faces in F1 at the start of every year, but only if it comes at the expense of horribly mundane drivers (ex. Sutil) and not one who, in my view, was just a bit worse than Ricciardo, but, then again, we all know Toro Rosso doesn’t keep their drivers for more than two years. Still, a year in GP2 or FR3.5 couldn’t have done him any bad, while putting Sainz Jr in the Toro Rosso for a yaer and give him a shot at F1.

    1. I would like to see JEV next year replacing SUT or someone horrible, just to show he can still drive. I mean, we all know JEV virtually tied or beat RIC last year.

  13. I was at Silverstone for his first race in Formula 3, which was supporting the WEC. In between sessions I had a wander around the Formula 3 paddock because you could get incredibly close to the cars – so much so that you’d have to watch your toes to make sure you didn’t get run over. I walked over to one of the gazebos which served as temporary garages, where a small crowd had gathered.

    Of course, this was a group of autograph hunters who’d spotted Jos Verstappen, who was kind enough to come over and sign a few photos. Afterwards he wandered to the back of the ‘garage’ to his grinning son, who seemed quite content to stay out of the spotlight. Max had been hyped up a little by the circuit commentators, but I still don’t think any of us would have expected that little kid in the back to be such a gifted driver, and one who would eventually make it to the pinnacle.

    And this happened less than 4 months ago. Insane.

  14. Insane. Waaay too early, it doesn’t matter if he is good or not.

    1. How many of us said it was too early for Raikkonen in 2001? I certainly did. I hope Verstappen proves me wrong again.

  15. Only a week or two ago Verstappen was in negotiations with both Mercedes and Red Bull to join their young driver programmes – I think it’s pretty obvious that this is is Red Bull’s trump card that Mercedes just couldn’t match. Obviously his age is unusual, but if he’s talented enough then I’m all for it.

    1. Indeed, smart move imo. I have been following Max a bit in karting.
      He is impressive and Red Bull didn’t want to miss out so they played the str seat.
      Well played imo, let’s hope he is ready!

    2. Pretty much. It seems Red Bull decided to throw an F1 seat on the table of negotiations knowing very well that Mercedes couldn’t throw that. Sainz Jr. won’t be happy about that though. Vegne was out of the door anyway. No way he would have gotten another season with so many rookies in the program waiting but Sainz had the strongest case for the seat until Verstappen became not just a candidate but a matter of dispute between Red Bull and Mercedes.
      Basically Mercedes interest in him gave him the seat at Toro Rosso.

  16. Congratulations to Max on reaching his goal of becoming a F1 driver. However I am worried for him as a human being. I hope he avoids a fate akin to child stars Miley Cyrus and Justin Bieber of having so much at a young age and subsequently going off the wall.

    1. Have you ever seen the fellow… he’s a very normal down to earth guy… and the moment he starts floating his dad will kick him back down to earth.. he is the real deal… but I’m curious if the “older” F1 generation will like his attacking race style

  17. Wow, Toro Rosso’s drivers combined will be aged 38 at the start of next season..
    Kimi Raikkonen will be 35.

    1. Make that 34 actually.

      1. @merioksa
        In March 2015:
        Kvyat will be 20
        Verstappen will be 17
        Raikkonen will be 35

  18. Paul (@frankjaeger)
    18th August 2014, 21:28

    No way! Admittedly, I will be sad to see JEV go. I fear Max’s inexperience (1 year in single seaters) makes him a far too premature entry. This seems like Red Bull are looking for some records. Who knows he could really perform. I think JEV has sat on that seat for too long now

  19. Wow, that is hugely rushed by Toro Rosso. I’m in agreement that 17 is far too young to be in Formula One (although part of me might just be bitter because it’ll be the first driver younger than me). I also agree that Sainz Jr. and Lynn will probably feel a bit gutted, but non more so than Jean-Eric Vergne.

    Like Jaime Alguersuari before him he’s shown to be quite a talent, but has been really let down by mechanical failures compared to his team mates, something completely out of his control. Unfortunately, his three years are up though, but I think it’s a huge mistake to let him go. I really hope that unlike Jaime another team picks him up, he deserves to stick around, more-so than Maldonado, Sutil, Gutierrez, Chilton and Ericsson AT THE VERY LEAST.

    People may comment that he wasn’t as good as Ricciardo, but I disagree. Over the entire weekend they were very closely matched, and Ricciardo has two wins this season. I reckon Vergne could have done the same. I really really hope he doesn’t end up out of the sport.

    On the other side of the coin, delighted for Verstappen, and good on him. Nice to see what hopefully will turn out to be a quality Dutchman back on the grid!

  20. A lot of people will comment about his age, as if it somehow matters. Driver’s ability is all that matters. Color, sex, age, orientation etc is just relevant for PR.

    Though valid questions can be asked like: Could he do with a bit more experience and wouldn’t the F1 team bosses need to see more good performances, to be able to make a relatively safe decision to hire him?

    I think Yes! and Yes! to both of those question, but isn’t that sort of what Torro Rosso is for?

  21. Here’s a thought – when Jos last raced in Formula 1, he was competing alongside Fernando Alonso, Jenson Button and Kimi Raikkonen. Max will most likely do the same next year. Would that be the first time a driver has competed against the same Formula 1 drivers as his father/?

    1. Now that would be an interesting stat!

    2. I don’t know if there were more but I certainly know that Mario Andretti raced against Riccardo Patrese in 1978-1982, and his son Michael raced for McLaren in 1993 also against Patrese, who drove his last season in F1 for Benetton.

    3. No, it wouldn’t be the first time.
      Mario and Michael Andretti both raced Prost and Alboreto.
      Satoru and Kazuki Nakajima both raced Schumacher.

      The Piquets have come close to achieving this. But Schumacher, having raced Piquet, was retired when Piquet Jr was active in F1, and Piquet Jr had dropped out by he time Schumacher came back.

      1. Meanwhile, in the Indy 500, Jacques Villeneuve’s raced against 3 generations of Andrettis…

      2. Mr win or lose
        18th August 2014, 22:30

        Not true. Kazuki Nakajima only raced in 2007-2009, while Schumacher “retired” in 2006 and made his comeback in 2010. Kazuki did race Ralf Schumacher in Brazil 2007.

      3. You’re totally right about Mario and Michael Andretti, but only Saturo Nakajima raced Schumacher. Kazuki drove in F1 from 2007 untill 2009. Just when Schumacher had his break from F1.

        1. Yup, you guys are right. Funny how I managed to take Schumacher’ss break into account for the Piquets, but failed to do the same for the Nakajimas :)

  22. As the saying goes: if you’re good enough you’re old enough. What an exciting young team Toro Rosso will have, and there’ll be more pressure on Kvyat being the senior driver (it’s mad to be saying that at 20). It is a gamble though.

    I hope Vergne manages to find a seat elsewhere, he’s definitely earnt a future in F1. I also expect Caterham to field at least one Red Bull junior in the near future. Sainz might get his chance there. Lynn and Gasly will have to wait or perhaps leave the Red Bull family.

    1. Kvyat the senior driver, what a joke

      Well, this seems appropriate …

      1. Oops, wanted to post :P

  23. I think he is way to young for F1.

    Happy for Kvyat though.

  24. Alright, let’s get the bias out of the way: I’m Dutch and I’ve followed his progress since the beginning of 2013. Just six weeks ago, I saw him win the Zandvoort Masters, so yeah, I’m a bit of a fan.

    However, I think this is a mistake. He is very mature for his age, but he is simply not experienced enough to adapt to Formula 1 quickly enough. I’m afraid that by the time he’s up to speed with his team mate (Kvyat or whoever will be driving there in 2016), Red Bull has already given up on him. So it’s definitely a questionable move from the Verstappens.

    For Red Bull, it’s a gamble. On one hand, they probably didn’t want to lose Verstappen to Mercedes, so they kinda one-upped each other until Marko offered him a seat at Toro Rosso, I suppose. On the other hand, if driver weight is becoming ever more important, they probably want to see what a not yet full-grown teenager could do in Formula 1.

    It’s a massive shame for Red Bull’s other talents: Sainz looked pretty much certain to get that second seat at Toro Rosso until Verstappen came along. It’s a big blow for Gasly and Lynn too. The Red Bull Junior Team is harsh.

    But this is great news for F1 in Holland. At the moment F1 is behind the pay-wall, but RTL 7 (free-to-air F1 broadcaster until 2012) is already broadcasting one F3 race live, simply because Verstappen is doing so well. They may buy the F1 rights for 2015, which would be fantastic. The motorsport culture in Holland is pretty much on a respirator, so this could really be a turn-around.

    1. @andae23 I also think it is a gamble. Verstappen is exceptionally talented but he “graduated” from karting less than a year ago and he is still going to be two years younger than Jaime Alguersuari, who is currently the youngest Formula One driver ever. I also had my doubts about Daniil Kvyat and he has been doing well but now Dr. Marko has taken the Red Bull driver development program to new extremes. I wonder if the success stories of Vettel, Ricciardo and Kvyat (so far) have encouraged him to take even more risks.

      It does not look like Red Bull Racing will need to replace both of their drivers during the next few years. It means that only one of the youngsters, either Kvyat or Verstappen, is likely to be promoted and Kvyat is on the “pole position” at the moment. For sure, there are always other teams but so far Red Bull Junior Team drivers have not been popular with the other teams as only Liuzzi has been able to find another team after leaving the Red Bull empire.

      Other than that, I’m happy for Dutch F1 fans, congratulations :)

  25. First of all, I’ll admit that whatever I’m writing here will go out the window the moment I see the Verstappen name on an F1 car again and especially when I run to the nearest PC to check on his FP times at Melbourne next year.

    But this isn’t good. Max has proven himself to be a very fast driver and a very fast learner. However, he’s made plenty of mistakes and frankly could do very well with a year of FR3.5 or GP2 to get used to being in the spotlight, a more technical car and, frankly, learn to deal with more technical failures and drivers crashing into him. Not all drivers will react to some of his risky overtakes as Fuoco has.

    Most of all I’m surprised by Jos. He’s been very vocal about his own F1 debut, saying it ‘sort of’ came too early and how he went backwards in his career. With Max making his debut at Toro Rosso, he probably won’t go backwards soon (rather straight out of F1 if he doesn’t perform) but he’s being thrown a lot further off the deep end than Jos ever was.

    I just hope, as a fan of his father, I won’t have to mourn another ‘would be’ Verstappen in 10 (or rather, 11) years time. At least there are no more gravel traps for the Dutch media to make jokes about..

    1. @npf1 I think as soon as Verstappen joined the Red Bull junior programme elder Verstappen had nothing to say anymore.

      1. @xtwl I see Vermeulen’s hand in this mostly, he’d probably be the one to talk the Verstappens into ‘you know what would be a great deal? Getting into F1 next year!’. After all, he studied under Rothengatther, Jos’ manager, who managed to mess up any dealings with Eddie Jordan (probably Jos’ biggest fan on the paddock at the time) ad infinitum…

    2. As you say, especially Jos knows what happens when you enter F1 without being well prepared.
      He got half a chance in his first season when he wasn’t physically ready.
      My guess was 2015 GP2 or FR3.5 and 2016 F1.
      Than I read this interview:

      Some critics will suggest a year or two in GP2 or FR 3.5 would ease Max into F1 as the lap times between GP2 and Formula 1 don’t differ that much. Jos disagrees. “Plenty of drivers didn’t make it through GP2 so after carefully deliberating with Max, Raymond and Red Bull, we came to the conclusion that F1 is the best option for Max.”

      From now on, it is all about Max’ preparation ahead of the 2015 season. Jos explains the vital points junior needs to work on: “He has to put in plenty off miles in faster cars, he has to become physically stronger and practice in the simulator. At Toro Rosso, he has to become an integral part of the team and get the right feel for what’s going on. Instead of working with five people, he’ll have to get used to working with fifty”, explains Jos.

      I understand his reasoning.
      They only thing I’m worried about now is Max getting too tall, look at this picture:
      Jos is 1.75

      (btw MVerstappen is my real name, now just waiting for the merchandise with my own name on it ;) )

  26. 16 years ago, Magnussen was replaced by Verstappen in Stewart. And now both their sons are racing in F1. And both fathers are just over 40 years old. Insane.

    1. And also, both of their fathers were very hot prospects when they arrived in F1, but never made it in F1. Although Jos has had a bit more success than Jan.

      And another fact. Jos debuted in 1994, a year later in 1995. Kevin made his debut this year, and Max a year later in 2015.

      Finally Jan and Kevin Magnussen both drove for the same team (McLaren) and now Max debutes with effectively the same team as Jos Verstappen drove for (Minardi/ Toro Rosso).

  27. @keithcollantine

    Tost added his thanks to Verstappen, who will leave the team after his third year in F1.

    I know STR are impatient with their drivers, but bloody hell..! :)

  28. This kid is special.

    Jos was good and the boy’s beat guys like Trulli in a kart
    Max has has been a meteor in racing since the age of 7.
    Watch 2015!

  29. He has been something special to watch in F3 – really exciting & I can’t wait to see him in F1. Surprising that it has happened so soon though – I suppose the RedBull program has nothing to lose and everything to gain, however Max could find his career hits the buffers very quickly if it all goes belly up…

  30. His age wouldn’t be such a big deal if drivers could actually get hundreds if not thousands of testing miles in an F1. I can’t think of a sport where the players are not encouraged to practice as much as possible…. sports are one of the proofs of “practice makes perfect”.

  31. I still think this is a year too early, but I’m very excited about this (as a Dutchman, but also in general after viewing his F3 races). Just imagine the kind of records he may set. For example, having made 50 race starts before his 20th birthday could be possible. I think that if he lives up to his potential the first year, the records are going to stand for many many years.

  32. People are criticizing Max because he is young… just like everyone did with guys like Raikkonen, Hamilton, Vettel and Kvyat. I’ll wait to see him in Melbourne before passing judgement, thank you.

    1. @austus: I haven’t seen anyone criticise Max directly, but a lot of people are concerned that he doesn’t have enough experience to thrive in F1 yet. We have to hope that Red Bull and the Verstappens know what they’re doing.

      And how about the people who thought that Grosjean and Alguersuari started F1 too early?

  33. maarten.f1 (@)
    18th August 2014, 22:07

    Wow, when I heard the rumors I took it with a huge pinch of salt. It’s exciting though, this’ll do a lot for the popularity of Formula 1 in the Netherlands, and I really hope he’ll be successful in F1!

    It’s quite early, and time will tell whether he’ll be ready. I think he’ll be fine. People were quite vocal about Kvyat when he entered Formula 1, and he’s been doing quite well. I think Red Bull has quite a good sense of what he can do, and they must think a lot of him if they skip him ahead of their other young drivers. Like someone said earlier, if you’re good enough, you’re old enough.

  34. Just texted my father. We’ll be at Spa next year wearing Torro Rosso caps.

  35. I have no idea what to make of this. I guess if he really is good enough, then there shouldn’t be a problem. However I just can’t get over the fact that he’ll be 17 during his debut. I suppose the fact that we’ve never seen a driver under 19 in Formula One creates a fear of the unknown factor for many. Hopefully this won’t be a case of too much, too young.

    1. 10 domestic championships in Belgium and the Netherlands
      3 Euro Series, 1 World Series and 1 Master Series title
      2 European Championships, 1 World Championship
      11 Wins in the F3 Euro Series in his first season of carracing
      Won the Masters of Formula 3
      16 years old…..

      I mean…..good lord this kid is not just good. He’s freaking insane! I too worry it’s too early though. It would be a shame if a talent like this goes to waste by pushing him too soon too fast. If things go right though, this kid has ‘superstar’ potential, no doubt.

      1. * 8 wins in the Euro Series, 1 in the masters and 2 in the Florida winter series

  36. Not surprising as many think, Toro Rosso/Red Bull has always been the benchmark for the youngest drivers to make their way into F1. Algusersuari stepped up from Formula Renault for the sacked Bourdais during the middle half of the 2009 season and eventually settled in, going on to have another two solid seasons for the team despite being sacked as well. The most recent case study is Kvyat, who’s had a smooth transition despite the jump from GP3, so there’s history of Red Bull succeeding in managing the drivers in the pressure and transitional aspects. Verstappen himself must’ve dealt with some form of significant pressure having taken six wins in his first season in single-seaters, under 12 months after racing in go-karts. It’s the pinnacle of Motorsport yes, but with half of the Motorsport season to go, it’s a no brainer to get experience with F1 machinery during the remaining practice sessions and the in-season test at Abu Dhabi, thus it being very wise for Red Bull to confirm him for next season during the summer rather than after this season and whatever pressure Verstappen is feeling now should be eased by the timing of the announcement.

    1. Small correction: Verstappen is on 8 wins for the current F3 season and has won in the Florida Winter Series as well.

  37. Very interesting. I do hope however that Sainz is offered a F1 seat next year as well. He deserves it.

    1. He totally does. Rumors are that the team wants to buy him a Caterham seat.
      As for Caterham, we don’t yet know or the team will exist in 2015…

  38. Since everyone is having a go at f1, can I also have a turn, I drove a kart last week too.

  39. Just another thought to add to the pile, why does Verstappen get in the STR before Sainz? Sainz is impressing aswell in his category and drives very mature. Put Verstappen in his seat and let Sainz have a go, if he disappoints there is always 2016…

    1. @xtwl
      Exactly, Sainz has the experience to transition into F1 while Max is going to have to learn as he goes. From what I’ve seen of him in F3 he looks fast but erratic while Sainz already looks like an F1 driver. I expect a lot of bent purple cars next year, and a lot of angry drivers.

  40. I hope Vergne doesn’t end up like Buemi and Alguersuari, as I think he’s better than them. I hope Sainz doesn’t miss his chance like da Costa because I think he’s talented and I hope other teams are willing to sign them despite them not being in their own drivers’ programmes. I think Max’s career is being unnecessarily rushed but this could be great for Red Bull if he becomes a title contender.

  41. This is too much from RedBull’s driver program. I mean yes, they have produced quality drivers but 17 is way too young. And what about Sainz jnr ? Just few months back, he was in frame for Torro Rosso and plans to get experience via Caterham and he is still doing top job in FR 3.5

    What if this was a ploy by Marko to get Verstappen on board, later to make him go-through FR3.5 and Sainz jnr does indeed come through ? Unless Sainz does get a seat at Caterham.

  42. I hope Vergne doesn’t end up like Buemi and Alguersuari, as I think he’s better than them. I hope Sainz doesn’t miss his chance like da Costa because I think he’s talented and I hope other teams are willing to sign them despite them not being in their own driver programmes. I think Max’s career is being unnecessarily rushed but this could be great for Red Bull if he becomes a title contender.

  43. I hope Vergne finds a drive somewhere else. He was in the wrong place at the wrong time and produced some impressive performances, especially in wet conditions. He was pretty much right with Ricciardo last year and if Ricciardo is doing so well at RBR right now then Vergne should too. I don’t understand why he wouldn’t be in Formula 1 but Maldonado, Gutierrez, Sutil, Ericsson and Chilton would still have a seat. I guess it’s just the money talks. Verstappen should be given at least 3 more years in lower formulae before he proceeds to Formula 1. At 16, he isn’t allowed to drive on the roads in the UK and I would struggle to think he would do well against Maldonado which would be an embarrassment for himself. Besides, you know what it’s like when kids touch cars. Vergne has been unlucky lately, especially with having a very unreliable car this year and missing out on the dream team seat at RBR last year. I think he should have been given at least one more season at STR. Speaking of STR, I don’t understand why a team like this should even be in Formula 1. I understand that they want to test young driver’s abilities but that’s exactly why GP2 was created. To promote young drivers into the big racing. I think STR should go to GP2 and give their F1 space to a team which would actually try to build a car to win races instead of building a car to come 9th or 10th and that is what STR is doing.

    1. It’s amazing how one stroke of luck can be the difference between stardom and oblivion. As you say, there was little to choose between Vergne and Ricciardo – over their two years as teammates Ricciardo scored just 1 point more than Vergne – and now Dan is on top of the world while JEV is likely facing unemployment. F1 can be such a cruel sport…

      1. @jackysteeg – So true. It’s not quite fair, but it is what it is. I hope Vergne does get a seat somewhere in F1. Imagine if he got a seat in a truly competitive car and did half as well as Ricciardo. He would be hailed as a very good driver all of a sudden. He is easily a better driver than at least half a dozen others that will likely have a place in F1 next season.

        Glad to see Verstappen get a shot, his age does not bother me. I think Sainz would be a better fit right now and also deserves his chance in F1.

    2. I would like to say that Ricciardo and Vergne were probably a bit further apart then most people think. I believe qualifying and natural pace is more telling in a car that poor.

  44. Even though I love young talent coming in to sport, I just don’t like this. Next year Red Bull will have 4 drivers all aiming to be Red Bull’s championship winning driver. Firstly, you have the 4 time world champion who has broken records all his career and doesn’t have anywhere else to go really. Then you have the biggest star of the season so far, hot tipped to take over after the Vettel/Newey era comes to an end. Then you have the rookie of the season, only 20 years old but proving all his doubters wrong. And then you have a 17 year old kid who is being hyped up as the next big thing ( and understandably, I’ve been watching F3 recently to see this kid) at the bottom. Then there are all the drivers aiming to be the next in this long queue. I just don’t see how all of this talent can be put to good use. The only way I see is having to drop Vettel or Ricciardo in the next 2 years and end up having Kvyat or Verstappen’s promising careers over by the time they’re in their early 20s.

    That’s the problem with Toro Rosso. It is so black and white. You either get a seat in a top team in Formula 1 before you’ve even hit your prime, or you join a list of RedBull rejects. The competitive relationship between Toro Rosso drivers is probably similar to a dominant championship winning team (take this years Mercedes team for example). They both know that the winner gets a frontrunning car and the loser walks.

    Maybe F1 should be a bit like Football. Any team can have as many drivers as they want and can sub them in at any point. Small teams will likely do this to get maximum profit while Big teams will have their main 2 and loan off the ones that have promise to any team that will take them. A bit like Mclaren tried to do with Magnussen at Force India last year. I’m still amazed they turned that down. Money from Mclaren and a talented driver for a couple of years is probably just as good as Perez, which was probably an unlikely deal at that point in time.

  45. He’s simply too young he should have gone to gp3/gp2 first to gain more experience, at least then he will have that resume to fall back on. As for now if he doesn’t deliver he will be replaced by another RedBull young driver and no other team would pick him up then. Very high risk.

    1. Jos Verstappen on : “I mean, Max got into a Formula Renault 3.5 for the first time last week. He just got in and drove off with extraordinary pace. He is so in control that he’ll be able to understand and master driving an F1 car.”
      Some critics will suggest a year or two in GP2 or FR 3.5 would ease Max into F1 as the lap times between GP2 and Formula 1 don’t differ that much. Jos disagrees. “Plenty of drivers didn’t make it through GP2 so after a carefully deliberating with Max, Raymond and Red Bull, we came to the conclusion that F1 is the best option for Max.”

      1. I’m not saying he won’t be successful, I’m just saying given RedBulls track record of young drivers I would say its better he did GP2 in order to get more exposure to other teams. That doesn’t mean he won’t succeed in F1 but if RedBull don’t like him or like someone else more he will be out as quickly as he came in, and that will most definitely ruin his career. A few races in F3 doesn’t mean he will be a star in F1, where by the way he will be racing with people who were also very successful in F3 at some point.

  46. Not sure what to make of this. On the positive side, this definitely gets people talking about F1 – there’s the possibility of a new superstar, and every sport needs those. There’s nothing wrong in bringing exciting talents to the grid, and whether they are young or old doesn’t really matter.

    Then again, Red Bull’s programme makes a total mockery of the junior categories. Why don’t they promote people straight from karting? 17, although it is just a number, is too young. What if Verstappen becomes another Alguersuari? His career will be over when he is still in his teens… And how many countless others (like Jan Magnussen) have been hailed as the next Senna when they drove in the junior formulaes, and then they turned out to be either okay or nothing at all? While new talents deserve a chance in F1, they should be given a few years in the lower categories to mature.

  47. Wow, what an odd move.
    I don’t care about his age, but he has only one year of experience in single seater racing. He’s been impressive so far, ok, but also Felix Da Costa looked impressive in his 2012 season and one year later he was not worthy of an F1 seat. I mean, things can change so quickly, you can’t just sign a 16 years old after one season in F3.

    And there are very good Red Bull drivers in other categories! Carlos Sainz is dominating FR3.5 (the opposition isn’t exactly the best, but he’s winning), Gasly is in his first year of FR3.5 and I feel he’s doing a good job, Lynn is leading the GP3 championship. They all have more experience than Verstappen and they’re impressive as well.
    I mean, I saw why Toro Rosso chose Kvyat over Da Costa. FdC had a disappointing season in FR3.5, while Kvyat won the GP3 championship in his rookie year.

    Hopefully Verstappen will do a good job in F1, but I just can’t shake the feeling that this move is a bit crazy.

    1. FdC had a disappointing season in FR3.5

      The problem with that was that Da Costa showed good speed but was let down a few times by Unreliability & general bad luck.

      He was dominating the 1st race at Monza for instance is very bad conditions before the car broke, He came back to win race 2.
      He had car problems in both Austrian races, Retiring from the 2nd with a mechanical DNF.

      He ended up 3rd in the championship despite the problems behind 2 drivers driving for the 2 best teams in the category (DAMS & Fortec) who are also 1st/2nd in this years championship with.

  48. I wonder, because he has very little experience, otherwise good luck! :)

  49. Why did they do this?

    Because the guy in charge of their young driver programme thinks the teams exist to serve it (and his power base), not the other way around.

    Because he’s impulsive with no interest in actually developing young drivers at all.

    Because Red Bull as an organisation are becoming more and more dysfunctional.

    This is bad news for the sport, and probably bad news for Max too.

    Furthermore, it sends a pretty clear message to the other drivers in lower formulas: the red bull system is basically worthless unless you can turn yourself into a political pawn.

  50. Michael Brown (@)
    18th August 2014, 23:40

    Hasn’t a 16-year-old raced in Le Mans?

    1. You mean Matt McMurry… but he has more racing experience (started in Skip Barber during 2011, raced both single seaters and the American equivalent of Radical SR5s for 2 years) than Verstappen does, not to mention an extensive testing programme and being paired with numerous senior drivers in the LMP2 car. In fact, he’s still racing in a junior series alongside ELMS.

  51. For me his age & inexperience in cars isn’t the issue, My issue is that guys like Da Costa, Sainz Jr & Alex Lynn have seemingly been overlooked by someone who may well be great but who is yet to really prove themselfs over a full season.

    Alex Lynn has been mega in GP3 this year, There’s no way he deserves to be overlooked.
    Sainz Jr has been impressing for a few years now in GP3 & now WSBR, He’s more than good enough & fully ready to make the step up to F1.

    It was the same with Da Costa, He had the pace in WSBR but was let down by unreliability & some other bits of bad luck. He showed just as much raw speed as Magnussen & Vandoorne yet got overlooked for F1 & then thrown into DTM where he’s fading into oblivion as like many other open wheel drivers he’s struggling to figure DTM out because of the very bespoke way those cars are (Driver sits very far back which gives a very odd feeling for how the car is moving about).

    The bigger problem for Lynn & Sainz comes in 2016, Kvyat is doing a brilliant job so I can’t see Red Bull losing him & if Verstappen also impresses then there not going to lose him either (Can’t see them getting rid of Vettel or Ricciardo either), So where do Lynn/Sainz Jr. fit in?
    Do Red Bull fund them in a rival team, Do they drop Red Bull & lose all there funding to risk trying to make it on there own (Look how that worked for Algersuari, His career’s been dead for 2-3 years as he’s struggled to find new backing)?

    This decision may well turn out great for Max but its horrible for Red Bull drivers who have already worked through to & have shown great speed & talent in GP2/GP3 & WSBR.

  52. The Red Bull driver programme’s producing loads of Formula E and sportscar drivers!

  53. I’d like to link to this, where Jos has a say. You really feel that Jos realises that his son is more mature than he is, and how everyone keeps being stunned (FR2.0, F3, FR3.5) by how quickly he adapts. Add that to RBs incredible desire to snag him, and the ability to offer what Mercedes can’t, and this move makes sense. Still a big ask though. I bet he’ll do great.

  54. What is more significant: a woman driving in F1, or a child?

    I’m being half serious. It’s one thing for a minor to win Wimbledon, as Boris Becker did. He couldn’t kill himself or anyone else. Throwing a car around at 200MPH is quite another matter. Would it be OK for even a prodigious 12-year old to win an F1 seat? Obviously not. What about 14? Where must a line be drawn? I think the legal age of majority is as good a minimum age limit as any other.

    I would have thought that any team, and any sponsor, would get the best return if they put a woman in an F1 cockpit. If the Hunger Games and others in that genre show us anything, it’s that feminizing an activity is more profitable than making that activity even more appealing to young boys.

    1. I’m hopeful that de Silvestro will be announced shortly in the Sauber seat for 2015. That really would make the year one for the historians, a woman and a child joining the F1 ranks!

    2. Putting Verstappen in F1 has nothing to do with marketing but just pure talent.

      He’s Dutch and the Netherlands isn’t exactly a big market, he brings no sponsor budget like Maldonado or Chilton and he doesn’t look like a boyband member like Chilton either.

      He dominated Formula Renault pre season testing, decided to skip ahead straight to F3 where he won the Masters of F3 and has 8 wins already there and blew everybody away with his pace in his FR3.5 test too so skipped straight to F1 after RedBull signed him two wks ago.

      Dont forget litterally every F1 team was trying to sign this kid to their developmemt program after his insanely good karting career and start to this season.

      He’s has shown to be a real racers racer if you get my drift. extremely agressive overtaking and exciting when overtaking and driving mature beyond his years.

  55. Generally speaking, I think 17 is just too young to cope with the pressure, the split second decisions, the team politics – all of it really. However, I have no knowledge of the lad in question and he may well be able for it all. I doubt it though, and it would be a pity to see a driver with real talent and potential churned up and spat out through the wheels of the F1 machine because he was too young to deal with it all. Personally, I’d take Sainz Jnr instead and give Verstappen the opportunity to mature through the feeder series.

  56. This seems bizarre to me. I don’t doubt that he’s quite exceptional. I just don’t understand either why Vergne isn’t being given until the end of the season to impress more before announcing it or why he gets the place above all the other great current and recent drivers Red Bull could and should call upon. I thought the same about Kvyat to be fair, and that seems to have paid off.

  57. I’m happy yet unhappy about this news of Max’s signing. I’m happy because his dream was to race in Formula 1 since he was 7 years old, like most young drivers, but unfortunately most of them don’t get the chance to race full time in Formula 1, which is what Max is now able to do at age 17. But for me, that’s the only good thing I see out of this.

    Alongside Max will be Daniil Kvyat, a former Red Bull Junior Team driver, which is where Max was recently signed to before signing for Toro Rosso. But there are still another 3 more experienced and older drivers who’ve had to do a lot more than Max to get to where they are today.

    Pierre Gasly: still a teenager, but is showing maturing and pure pace in Formula Renault 3.5 and is currently 3rd in his first season in that championship.

    Alex Lynn: He won the Macau Grand Prix last year, and is currently leading in GP3 and like Pierre, this is Alex’s first season in GP3.

    Carlos Sainz Jr.: he has been in the Red Bull Junior Program since 2010, when he was only karting. During his stint in GP3, he earned a young drivers test with both Toro Rosso and Red Bull and overall, he was only slower than 1 driver: Sebastian Vettel. This year, he is currently leading, and by some margin, in the FR3.5 season.

    I may have only selected the stand-out points of those driver’s careers, but they have driven a lot more than Max has. Max’s Formula 3 career may be a stand out for him, but it’s the only racing series that he has raced in that isn’t karting. If Max can secure a F1 seat because of his performances in a championship that he’s not even leading in, than all I can say is good luck to him because I think he’ll just end up following the same path that Alguersauri had to take.

  58. Congrats to Max. Great news. Why not give the young talented kid a shot. Ive always critisized F1 for always holding onto drivers well passed their used-by-date and not letting new and exciting talent come through. I think times are changing, it almost reminds me of the MOTOGP model of, if they’re fast, then bring them straight through

  59. I have no animosity towards Max and wish him the best. But he is cutting to the front of the line. If he truly is more promising than his more experienced and tested competitors, how the hell was Torro Rosso able to measure that? This is nothing more than politics and money at work.

  60. Show him some videos of Grosjean/Maldonado crashes before he gets to the first race. It will save some costly machinery and a few leaders’ races.

    All the best!

  61. I’ll admit I don’t watch or follow F3, other than scanning over the Autosport news feed.

    Can anyone enlighten me why Max Verstappen is any better than Esteban Ocon?

    1. Well, Max has had a fantastic karting career, and he’s won 8 races this year in his first proper season in cars. He would have more wins and be leading the championship if it wasn’t for reliability and the few rookie mistakes. What really impressed me was at his last win, the race started damply and only a few drivers started on wet tyres. A driver stormed through the field with the temporary advantage as a lot of drivers had no way to defend. When he finally got to the front, Max held him off for a very long time by blocking the wet racing line and taking the race back lead back the next corner. It’s the little bits like that that make you notice talent at that age. Still don’t think he is ready for F1 though.

      1. Thanks for the insight!

      2. He would have more wins and be leading the championship if it wasn’t for reliability and the few rookie mistakes.

        I’m sure Ocon would also have scored more points without the few rookie mistakes.

    2. Max vs Esteban:

      Race win percentage Ocon/14.67% Verstappen 28.21%
      Podium percentage Ocon/41.33% Verstappen 48.72%

  62. How is this for a theory, did Red Bull/Toro Rosso have a change to go different about it, I mean they have other drivers to take the spot. If they would have given the drive to say da Costa and Verstappen to replace him at his old seat. Da Costa could have been to good and all the seats are taken for 2 years to come, what could Red Bull offer Verstappen? I would rather see him one year longer at a lower series but the problem might just be the Toro Rossos 3 year deal. Prove yourself our your out, it is Verges turn and he is not the first. They needed to cut loose Verge and the option was loosing Verstappen to an other team or putting him in the seat, despite the quality of the other drivers in the young program. The feeder program is biting them in their own ass and is burning some good drivers along the way.

  63. 18 should be the minimum age requirement to compete in quali or race. 17 for practice sessions.

  64. Personally I think 17 is way too young. If Massa has a problem with Magnussen (“GP2 driver”), then what will he say to Verstappen? Kart-driver?

    Anyway, I think this should give food for serious thought for anyone else in the Red Bull programme. Why go for that if you risk being overtaken by someone from a junior class? I think it’s great that Red Bull sponsors young talents in the categories leading up to Formula One, but this seems a bit respectless to the ones supposedly close to “graduating”. Why even bother with a programme if you just pick up talent from elsewhere and insta-promote them into F1? For shame.

    1. Can’t agree more, what’s the point of the RB program at this point?

    2. I also have a question. Are Kvyat and Verstappen mature enough to explain how to set up the car? Even Bottas stated he learnt so much from Massa this year.

  65. He should be in as a tester. Look what is Chip Ganassi doing for Sage Karam. He is getting developed in the SportCar series. Placing Max Verstappen at a young age. It does not make sense.

  66. I feel bad for Vergne. He is a very good driver and for the second year in a row he’s been screwed by unreliability. Who knows if he would have been at Red Bull this year if he had finished more races in 2013. Was Dan that much better than him last year?

    I just hope another team has the sense to pick him up. Unfortunately, in this day and age, I see someone less capable, with more money/sponsors getting in ahead of him.

    1. Sergey Martyn
      19th August 2014, 10:43

      Yes, I hope Vergne will find a seat for the next season.
      I’ve been on Moscow Raceway July 2014 to watch DTM and two F3 races.
      Haven’t seen the first race (where Verstappen was 3d) and closely watched two Sunday races where Max scored DNF and 2nd. Ocon was simply in another league – terribly fast and unbelievably clean. 3d race was close between him and Verstappen but only because Max got past Blomquist when he got drive-through and was able to get close to Ocon only because of the second safety car – they even briefly exchanged positions and banged wheels several times in close battle but nevertheless Ocon drove much better and clean – he was blasting his car in the sharp last corner at such confidence that watching other folks pathetically twitching there and blowing dust off track got me the feeling that he was competing other formulaes.
      Judging only that race I’d prefer Ocon without single question. He is one year older but drove much more mature way.

      1. My stand out race for Verstappen this year was the 2nd race at the Norisring. Despite the track only having 2 hairpins and something that could be called a chicane, he built a huge margin. Just watch this video, from about the 24th lap onwards:

  67. He is either genius driver or Red Bull got euphoric about him in order to put him in STR before Sainz Jr. By the way STR would have the youngest drivers line up ever!

  68. Max was only signed to the Red Bull programme this month! Not last year… small error in the article.
    Things are going fast for Verstappen Jr.!

    1. Sergey Martyn
      19th August 2014, 10:49

      Yeah he was signed by RB Junior programme about a week ago but I believe this is a result of bidding war between RB and Mercedes.

  69. That’s right, take them right out of the cradle and put them in a cradle on wheels

  70. Gerhard Berger’s played a blinder. When he talked about getting Formula 3 drivers straight into F1 again, I never imagined it would happen – I thought he was thinking back to another time, when F2 fading away coincided with some exceptional talent in F3 such as himself, Senna and Brundle.

    Just to clarify and make a point about nepotism, that’s Ayrton and Martin (and Lucas Auer’s uncle), not Bruno and Alex.

  71. What’s next Red Bull? Since they are obviously just chasing records, hows about hiring the youngest technical director or designer? Give some high school grad or graduate student the chance to design an F1 car.

    1. @sudd, Actually, Christian Horner was the youngest team principal in F1 when he got hired. And now that Newey leaves his full time job at the team, they promote from within. I think Redbull is a rather positive force in F1 when it comes to giving young people a chance.

  72. has he got a superlicence? i doubt so

  73. f1 does not need little boys with their hands held by daddy team director in dainty quiet machines. it needs real men fighting it out in viscerally appealing monster machines.

  74. Funny reading the irony in some of the comments. People dislike pay drivers, who aren’t in F1 on merit. Now that a driver is given a chance because of his talent, people still find something else to complain about.

    A black driver is OK, Lewis Hamilton is greatly appriciated in the sport. Women driving in F1 is even promoted by some. Then why should we judge Verstappen by his age when he is obviously talented? The only reason I see to dislike this situation is because other drivers who worked hard to go through multiple feeder series are left on the sideline. That’s pretty tough on them, agreed. But if Verstappen is actually quicker than GP2/FR3.5 drivers, isn’t that what racing is about?

    1. But no one knows if Verstappen is quicker than GP2/FR3.5 drivers.

  75. There could be some more big changes in the driver line-up if finances for pay drivers become less stable. That would be interesting and what I’d hope for if I was someone like Sainz or Vergne. They need to get finances behind them now and hope for an opening.
    Alternatively, they may want to kick out some of the F1 old hands starting in Formula E – it looks like it could be fun. For a taster of what it may be like, here’s an article with a video of an all-electric Radical SR8 racing in Australia (NSW):

  76. The G-Force will break him in two parts. Driving a F1 car with 17 years it’s dangerous for his body

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