Verstappen makes first appearance as Red Bull driver

2016 F1 season

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Max Verstappen has made his first appearance as a Red Bull driver at the team’s factory following their decision to promote him in place of Daniil Kvyat.

The 18-year-old will make his first race start for the team at next weekend’s Spanish Grand Prix at the Circuit de Catalunya.

Verstappen said he was “shocked” by his sudden promotion. “I didn’t expect it, but yes I’m very happy with the opportunity of course. I have to say a big thank you to Red Bull and Dr Helmut Marko and now I just can’t wait to jump into the car.”

He said he is going to next week’s race with “no expectations”.

“I just want to adapt to the car, understand it better and better every session and like I said before, study the data and see what my team mate is doing because the most important thing is to score points.”

“I just hope to feel comfortable in the car because that’s what a driver needs,” he added. “We’ll find out in Barcelona. I have never driven the RB12 before, it will be a new experience and there are a lot of procedures to learn, but I’m up for it.”

Verstappen’s rise from karting to the four-times constructors’ championship-winning team has been remarkably swift. He was appointed to their junior team in August 2014 during his first full season as a racing driver.

Six days later the team announced Verstappen, then 16, would make his debut for Toro Rosso in the 2015 season. Verstappen finished third and highest rookie in the 2014 European Formula Three championship and won the most races of any driver that year.

Verstappen is swapping seats with Kvyat following the Russian driver’s disastrous performance in his home race, in which he triggered a first-lap crash which eliminated Sebastian Vettel from the race and led to Red Bull leaving the race point-less.

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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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58 comments on “Verstappen makes first appearance as Red Bull driver”

  1. jamiejay (@jamiejay995)
    5th May 2016, 15:16

    Can’t wait to see what he can do against Riccardo. Also if this demotion for Kvyat light the fire under him to out perform sainz

    1. Max is a talent no doubt, but has got away with some clumsy moves so far in f1 ,,he needs to mature with his hot head…Dannyric is a massive talent and proven race winner in a sub standard car and a giant killer head unflustered under pressure and gets 110% out of his Machinery and rarely makes a mistake even in practice and quali …Marko has already stated Ferrari want Ric having Max in RB and developing is good insurance for RB…cant wait for Monaco!!!

    2. I Max does the same that Kvyat did last year, which was outperforming Ricciardo, then he’ll probably be sent to…Toro Rosso! LOL Oh my, this Red Bull team its a laugh I have to say…

      1. outscoring and outperforming are two very different things….

        1. aaronn, I know, but in this case he did the both. Its a fact. So, in this particular case, there’s no confusion. However, from the marketing perspective, yeah, Ricciardo probably left Kvyat far far away.

  2. Max already surprised me many times.

    1. jamiejay (@jamiejay995)
      5th May 2016, 15:23

      Hopefully max doesn’t lose his aggressiveness in fear of a demotion.

      1. Haha, I really doubt that will happen.

  3. that top picture has got to be a caption competition at some point!!

    1. I was thinking that too.

      “Not satisfied with taking Kvyat’s seat, Max quickly set out taking Ricciardo’s ride as well.” :)

      1. Pat Ruadh (@fullcoursecaution)
        5th May 2016, 16:21

        Me three.

        “Verstappen delighted with Red Bull sideways switch”

        1. Well Spoken Waffle
          5th May 2016, 18:16

          Max, ever the young scoundrel, superglues Ricciardos’ F1 car to the wall just before the next race

    2. I’m thinking of some sort of downforce gag but it needs refining a bit first.

      1. ColdFly F1 (@)
        5th May 2016, 18:36

        RBR aero so advanced that even stationary it creates sufficient downforce.

        1. Beat me to it…or…”Man that Newey is good”

          1. Ha ha… Good one!

    3. “The RB12 chassis is so good, the driver can really lean on it.”

    4. Johnny Five
      6th May 2016, 13:04

      Max was surprised at the extreme degree of banking at Red Bull’s secret Milton Keynes test track

    5. Verstappen totally calm after falling out of Red Bull halfway through roll

  4. Part of me thinks this was already in the works. Kvyat was definitely at fault for the first hit on Vettel, but unfortunately a 1st corner shunt happens damn near every race these days. The second was a racing incident. The replay video clearly shows Vettel slowing rapidly and Kvyat hitting him. It’s just unfortunate that Kvyat hit Vettel twice. If he would have smacked someone else in turn 2, this wouldn’t have been an issue at all.

    There has been talk of promoting Verstappen to RB for weeks, this is just the perfect excuse to finally do it without much uproar.

    Second incident video:
    Vettel is clearly decelerating relative to both Kvyat and the car to the inside before impact.

    1. If someone is decelerating, you also decelerate. That is not an excuse. He made a mistake, he was penalized in the race AND was given 3 penalty points. The FIA sees telemetry, we don’t.

      1. You state that like there should never be any collisions in motorsport. Sure he made a mistake, but it was a racing incident. Just like countless other collisions every single race. Further, I never saw whether he was penalized for the first or second (or both) impact. The first I can kind of understand, though the fact any car makes it through the first corner on Tilke circuits is a miracle. The second was a simple racing incident with no reason for penalty or penalty points. Kvyat’s race was already ruined by having to come in for a wing change. Not to mention RBR putting him on Mediums.

        My point was really that I don’t think these incidents have anything to do with the Kvyat/Verstappen swap. I think this is RBR preventing Verstappen from going to Ferrari or anywhere else next year. Kvyat was just a convenient scapegoat. I’m happy for Verstappen, I think he’ll do great against Ricciardo, but if Max wasn’t talking to other teams, this article wouldn’t even have been written.

        1. > You state that like there should never be any collisions in motorsport.

          Not at all, that would be utterly retarded.

          I stated that Max has been doing a better job in STR. He has not had a DNF since July of last year in Great Britain, 14 races ago.

          Kvyatt had two in one race.

          > Further, I never saw whether he was penalized for the first or second (or both) impact.

          How does that matter at all?

          > My point was really that I don’t think these incidents have anything to do with the Kvyat/Verstappen swap.

          The swap was already in the works, just Kvyatt did everything he could last race to make accellerate that. Take out the lead Ferrari and your teammate in two corners in front of Putin.

          Not going to end well.

      2. Will Buxton did a good analysis on the incident. Kvyat was effectively boxed in, so if he decelerated as sharply as Vettel did he would have been rear ended by an STR, and if he moved to the right he would have collected the other STR. The left side was blocked by Hamilton and the slowing Perez.

        1. So he had choices and decided to go for Vettel ;) You sure about that?

        2. So no matter who is in front of you, the person behind you is worse at stopping.

          Makes no sense at all.

          “You can’t win a race in the first corner but you sure can lose it there”.

      3. So, why didn’t this come at with Alonso in Australia?

        1. One way or another… he was replaced with Stoffel for the next race ;)

    2. mmm I don’t know, Vettel did slow down as did Hamilton but it wasn’t really very sudden, he definitely could’ve avoided it. And by the way they had to slow down because Pérez ahead had a puncture caused by Kvyat’s first collision so…

    3. The first time I’ve actually watched it myself (I couldn’t watch the race and never got round to it), and it must be said, as unfortunate as it was, it’s too harsh on Kvyat.

      And it’s disgusting how badly Hamilton cheated in T1. He didn’t even brake properly for the corner, just went straight on and passed everyone. The diversion around T1 was not an excuse for leaving the track and gaining an advantage.

      1. @strontium – It was harsh but its the fact that it happened for the second time in the same race and looked really clumsy.

        As for Hamilton, what advantage did he gain? He avoided a first lap collision that has ruined his races in Bahrain and China, if you watch the outcome of the the melee, you will see that almost everyone he was behind got past him or were involved in the crash. He got a reprimand for not following the rules at that part of the track earlier and when he does follow the rules he is now a cheater?

        Lastly, what about the other guys who followed him through? why aren’t you calling them cheaters?

        1. He accelerated off before attempting the corner and gained multiple positions as a result. Regardless of there being a bollard to go around, the rules on not leaving the track to gain a lasting advantage still stand. But these are the F1 stewards, and their enforcement decisions will remain a mystery forever.

          And the other guys went slower, most of them were even attempted the corner before they were forced off, and they didn’t gain such a clear advantage, as I believe the footage at 3:43 shows.

          1. Did you even watch the incident mate? If Ham didnt accelerate away he would be rear ended or side swiped by the crashed cars… no way he would leave the scene in one piece… most of them run away from it as much as they could! only ones that didnt either taken out/bumped or they were way far back wouldnt effect them and field was clearer! watch it again, you will see…

      2. @strontium it doesn matter. Hamilton, like Alonso and Ricciardo all passed through the narrow gap to the left of the polystyrene block, as instructed by the stewards. The latter was reeling from a hit and the former two were taking avoiding action. There’s no case of ‘cheating’ to answer for.

    4. I just hope the FIA keep an eye on Vettle and he gets a grid points for use of bad language I know he is German but he is not god my personal view is he is a cheet he backed off hard going into a corner no one could have stopped in time….

      1. I don’t understand one word you are saying, nor your point…

      2. Alex (@alexf11995)
        5th May 2016, 22:00

        Vettel* & cheat* are the words I think you were looking for. He backed off because his car was damaged, I think that’s fairly obvious.

  5. It’s all about the future of RBR. They cannot afford to lose Verstappen, so they have to promote him to keep him.

    Kvyat’s struggles are just a good excuse. And it might indeed be better for him. If he proves himself at STR he might get a new seat at another team. If he keeps struggling at RBR Kvyat will be out of F1 next season.

    Next year there is a seat open at Ferrari: could be for Ricciardo or Verstappen, so RBR at least secured one of the two for next season.

    1. Janet54321
      6th May 2016, 12:11

      Judging by Webbers description of Marko’s push forward of vettel, Dr will do whatever it takes to get his protege into the points.

      Max has shown he is the next name to the once in a generation special board.

  6. Is that the RB6 from the 2010 season on the wall? But with the new livery?

    1. The nose gives it away, good spot.

    2. Pat Ruadh (@fullcoursecaution)
      5th May 2016, 17:42

      Yes I believe so. Irks me a little when Red Bull do that. I took a walk around all the Toro Rossos last year and it was great to see ‘Cosworth’ and ‘Renault’ and ‘Bridgestone’ decals. Let past cars be past cars. What makes it worse is that car is a Championship winner. It should be displayed as such. Removing Renualt from the livery is in bad taste in my opinion it was their championship too

      1. That irks me a lot. There’s nothing sacred anymore, no respect for history. It’s all just corporate B.S.

        1. RedBull care about marketing, everything else for them is secondary… Sad indeed.

      2. @fullcourseaction the rebadging and reliverying happens as a result of sponsorship and team ownership changes. A sponsor who has changed teams will not appreciate teams using their logos for promotional purposes after deals have expired.

        Also, there’s the overall brand image to consider.

        About the only exception to this seems to be the heritage sponsorship deals, like Williams and McLaren seem to arrange to allow them to demo & display their old championship winning cars with the tobacco sponsorship. My guess is McLaren are paying a *lot* to Philip Morris to allow them to keep the MP4/4 in its red & white livery.

  7. The primary reason for Max replacing/swapping Kvyat is that Kvyat has consistently approx .2 sec slower than Ricciardo in qualifying and wasn’t showing and real signs of closing that gap. I think the change was inevitable and the crashes in turn 1 in Russia just moved the timetable up. Also, Ferrari was getting very interested in Verstappen and RB wants to keep him away from them.

  8. So much hype at Verstappen. I didn’t saw any really impressive results yet.

    1. He took a Renault-engined STR to 4th in his rookie season…

    2. I agree. He’s shown a little promise, but not anymore than Perez or Bianchi did during their rookie seasons. The amount of hype surrounding him right now makes it sound like he’s had a Lewis Hamilton style rookie season. Personally, I think Ricciardo will chew him up, spit him out and grin sheepishly.

      1. Personally, I think Verstappen will chew Ricciardo up, spit him out and grin sheepishly.

        Dont forget the boy is only 18 years old 8 YEARS younger then Danii

  9. lockup (@)
    5th May 2016, 20:34

    It’s an exciting development. Suppose the Renault upgrade really works? Max could be at the sharp end as soon as Canada.

    Also I’m wondering if Merc will give Rosberg his contract now Max is off the market?

    1. Lol guess you didn’t read that it seems they’re poised to re-sign NR this year and it is that expected on both sides that there is no rush as it is a mere formality. But I know you are trying to read as much into it as possible, so I suppose you will claim at some point that the only reason they have re-signed the cheating NR who is on permanent parole on the team is that there was nobody else available. That’s the only possible reason. They just had to settle for the dregs, and make do. :)

      1. lockup (@)
        6th May 2016, 9:07

        I just observe that Toto IS waiting @robbie. What for? Or who for?

        We can’t seriously believe the ‘formality’ version of the story, surely? Tost and Montezmolo apart teams always support their driver to the hilt, for performance, right up until the last moment. If they were ready to sign they’d sign.

        TBH I think it’s probable Merc will re-sign Rosberg. Not a certainty, tho. Alonso, is the next straw I will cling to :)

  10. Those Red Bull shoes need to be destroyed…

  11. What happens to Sainz now ? He is not replacing Ric or Ves anytime soon. Guess he has to look for opportunities in other teams. Poor fellow…

    1. I actually feel a little robbed of a good rivalry that was emerging at the Red Bull and Toro Rosso camps. Danny Ric would want to stamp his authority in the 2016 season after being outscored by Kvyat last year, and Sainz would want better reliability so h could take the fight to Max. Gutted for both Kvyat and Sainz honestly

    2. There is a seat open next season at Ferrari for Ricciardo.

      1. I believe Valteri would be the first choice for that. Even if a seat opens up elsewhere, i think they would first approach Daniil and not Carlos simply because of his experience of having driven a top rung car.

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