Max Verstappen, who turns 17 tomorrow, will have his first run in an F1 car in an official practice session at Suzuka on Friday.
Verstappen, who has been granted a superlicence by the FIA, will drive Jean-Eric Vergne’s car in the first practice session for the Japanese Grand Prix as he prepares to replace the Toro Rosso driver next year.
Verstappen said the news was “a dream come true” and “not something I could have imagined a few months ago”.
“I have actually been to Suzuka before, to take part in a go-kart race on the track that is located next to the main circuit’s back straight,” he added.
Verstappen’s father Jos made his Formula One debut with Benetton 20 years ago. “My dad has raced at Suzuka many times and he told me it’s not an easy track to start on,” he said.
“For me it will be a very valuable experience, spending some time in the car and also getting used to working with everyone in the team, to prepare myself for next year.”
“I am not going there to break any records, I just want to gain experience,” he added. “I have spent one day driving this track on the simulator, which helps a bit, but it’s no substitute for driving it for real.”
“My first impression is that it’s not an easy track and for example it looks hard to get the combination right in the first Esses. I have one and a half hours to drive there and I’m looking forward to doing a good job, for myself and for the team.”
2014 Japanese Grand Prix
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Image © Pirelli/Hone