Max Verstappen, Toro Rosso, Shanghai International Circuit, 2016

Red Bull chance “an amazing opportunity” – Verstappen

2016 Spanish Grand Prix

Posted on

| Written by

Max Verstappen said his chance to move up to Red Bull for the next round of the championship is an “amazing opportunity”.

The 18-year-old will replace Daniil Kvyat in the team’s line-up at the Spanish Grand Prix.

“The next step in my relatively short career so far is an amazing opportunity<" he told his official website. ""I really want to thank Red Bull Racing and Dr Helmut Marko for the confidence they have in me. I’ll have the chance to learn a lot from the top team that is Red Bull Racing. I’m also looking forward to work with an experienced and proven team mate like Daniel Ricciardo.”

“I can’t thank all the people at Scuderia Toro Rosso enough for all their hard work. Everyone back at the factory in Faenza, and Franz Tost in particular, have made an amazing contribution to get me this far in my career. We’ve had an amazing time together.”

“Together with Red Bull Racing we’ll do everything to prepare me as best as possible for my first laps in the RB12 TAG Heuer, next week in Barcelona. I cannot wait for that special moment to happen.”

Verstappen’s promotion comes after 23 races at Toro Rosso during which he scored a best finish of fourth in the United States Grand Prix last year. He became the youngest driver to start an F1 race when he made his debut for the team in Australia last year.

2016 Spanish Grand Prix

Browse all Spanish Grand Prix articles

Author information

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...

Got a potential story, tip or enquiry? Find out more about RaceFans and contact us here.

49 comments on “Red Bull chance “an amazing opportunity” – Verstappen”

  1. Let’s just hope he fares better than Kvyat…

  2. Also, one thing I’m not quite clear on, is this only for Spain or the rest of the season?

    1. I guess for the rest of season.

    2. Yes, for the remainder of the season.

  3. Good luck to you Max!

  4. Martijn (@)
    5th May 2016, 10:38

    Amazing. But why not wait one race and make use of the test days to get to know the car? Would also be a better way for Kvyat, not being penalized directly after Sochi.

    1. Spain is the perfect track for this swap as he has driven more miles here in F1 than any other circuit. This must have been planned for a while but they probably had contract issues to sort plus you cannot drop Torpedo Moscow before the Russian race due to the negative media reaction, the mistakes last race worked out well and means the media will be a little more forgiving and Red Bull did not have to face the Russian press in Russia and Putin for that matter, Marko would of left Russia with no eyes if they did this pre Russia.

      1. Dropping Kvyat pre-Russia would look ridiculous, as he just scored the team’s first podium of the year and voted driver of the day the previous race.

        1. Yes, to drop a decent driver before his home race, you’d have to be mad.
          Eddie Jordan fired Heinz-Harald Frentzen just before the German Grand Prix in 2001…

          1. But Eddie is a bit mad.

  5. WilliamB (@william-brierty)
    5th May 2016, 10:38

    It’s not like he isn’t ready, and I’m sure he’ll soon be comparing admirably to Ricciardo, but the means by which he has got this opportunity just feel corrosive, unnecessary and wrong. Other than Max being nabbed by Ferrari (which could still happen and the end of next season when Max’s contract runs out), what was urgent about him needing to be in a Red Bull? What would happen if Ricciardo goes to Ferrari? Does Kvyat get reinstated, or does he spend 2017 as Gasly’s coach (before promptly being sacked in all probability)?

    1. @william-brierty Why do people still think either of them will go to Ferrari? Ferrari will just continue with Kimi, and they will never hire a young gun who would upset their clear #1 Vettel. It’s just not going to happen. I see them rehiring Massa sooner than letting Verstappen in.

      1. Agree. I just don’t see Ferrari risking Ricciardo against Seb. It’s just against Ferrari’s #1 and #2 driver philosophy, additionally, Seb would definitely veto the move as he wouldn’t want to risk damaging his reputation by getting outperformed by Ricciardo again.

        If Ferrari didn’t hire Lewis to race alongside Fernando, there is no way they would team Dan against Seb again.

        1. I think they would. Vettel is doing well at Ferrari but if there is someone out there that can do even better they would take that driver. Unless they have 100 percent belief Vettel is the best they would try Ricciardo given half a chance. It’s about the team not Vettel’s feelings.

          1. But that’s just not how they’ve operated historically. When they had Schumacher, they hired Barrichello just because he would be the best supportive driver in the game at that time, and not someone who could equal Schumi on results. When they had Alonso, they kept Massa despite the availability of better options in that second seat. Now with Seb, they’ve found Kimi for that second seat. The only time they had 2 competitive drivers was during the Raikkonen – Massa pairing.

            I would be shocked if they had Ricciardo in that second seat, although he would deliver fantastic results for them

      2. WilliamB (@william-brierty)
        5th May 2016, 11:11

        @xtwl “Why do people still think either of them will go to Ferrari?”

        Because it would be the logical thing to do, what a team aspiring to win a championship ought to do, and what they would have done had Bianchi been here to take Kimi’s place. But point taken, logic has nothing to do with Ferrari’s decisions – they are apparently blind to drivers outside of the Ferrari “family” – we will probably sooner see fresh FDA recruit Giuliano Alesi than the obvious Aussie candidate in Kimi’s seat.

        1. When was the last time Ferrari hired a young driver?

          1. Massa was their youngest hire in recent times.

          2. I think Ferrari have changed their policy and would love to sign Verstappen. Schumacher adviced Ferrari to go for Vettel before the 2009 season, and I rather suspect Ferrari now regret not listening to him..

            In my view going for Verstappen is a no-brainer. He’s the best I’ve seen going through the ranks. He’s undoubtedly going to become an all time great.

            He’s still lacking experience to be a top qualifyer, but he’s improving all the time. But in races his great talent shines, he’s allready better at driving on worn tyres than any other driver on the grid. That’s of course down to his talent and adaptability, I think he’s the sort of driver that can drive any type of car and still be competitive. Watch out Ricciardo, Verstappen just might become your nemesis.

    2. Max has a 3-4 year deal. Jos wouldn’t tell the details, but one of the reasons why they chose Red Bull back in 2014 was the fact that they offered a multi-season deal. Which included 2 years at STR and them to RBR or another front running team if RBR failed to be among the top runners.

    3. Arnoud van Houwelingen
      5th May 2016, 13:12

      dutch media said that Verstappen also signed a new multi year contract to Red Bull Racing so all the speculation about Ferrari can go out of the window.

      1. Would make sense : “sign with us now and you get immediately promoted to Rex Bull”

      2. Helmet Marko previously indicated it is Ricciardo not Verstappen that Ferrari have been sniffing around for.

        1. I would love to see Ricciardo at Ferrari to give Vettel another hiding! But I’m not sure that he would go or that Vettel would allow it.

          But if Ferrari are looking to replace Kimi, which they should, I reckon Button would be perfect. Think about it. It seems clear that McLaren want Vandoorne in the car and Alonso has a contract for next year.

          Button would be perfect for Ferrari. He’s bloody quick, which he’s shown beating his last 3 team mates on the bounce including Alonso, is a perfect team player and would cause no dramas at Ferrari. He would also deliver many more points than the clearly past it Kimi and would push Vettel all the way. I wouldn’t even be surprised to see him beat Vettel.

          Think about it people, he may be old, but he’s still probably the fitest on the grid and is a MUCH better driver than Kimi!

          Button to Ferrari 2017!!!

          1. Ricciardo wouldn´t beat Vettel again, you guys just look at one driver´s bad year full of reliability issues and assume that it´s the rule..
            Ricciardo was beaten by 3 diffent team mates in 5 years, that should say something about him being constant.

            Vettel is a better driver and more complete that Ricciardo, mies better and faster than Button ever was.

          2. Ricciardo wouldn´t beat Vettel again, you guys just look at one driver´s bad year full of reliability issues and assume that it´s the rule..

            Reliability wasn’t a deciding factor behind the 2014 battle. Ricciardo outqualified and outraced Vettel all Sounds like a bunch of excuses from the end of 2014 by Vettel’s entourage. Vettel was beaten fair and square in a team which was completely built around him. Dan’s done it before, and I don’t see why he cannot do it again.
            season long. Only someone deluded with Vettel love would say something that ridiculous, or come up with conspiracy theories to Vettel intentionally underperforming before his switch to Ferrari… Pfft

  6. I hope Dany gets picked up by Renault aftrr this season .

    And I really want red bull out of f1 by begging for an engine supplier .
    What an utter disgrace of an decesion .

    1. He would be a great replacement for Palmer next year.

    2. I agree. I think Kvyat would be a great replacement for Palmer at Renault or also a great replacement for Guttierez at Haas.

  7. Would be interesting to see what Kvyat has to say.

    Also Max might be like ‘Wow, what a chassis’ and Kvyat is probably going ‘Wow, what an engine’.

    Ric better watch out. Max has the potential to do to him what he did to Vet.

    1. Kvyat will probably keep silent.

    2. Kvyat isn’t going to say wow what an engine cause the Renault engine is better and more powerful than the Ferrari 2015 engine. Kvyat will just try to outscore Sainz and hope to get some sponsors to keep him in F1 for 2017.

  8. “I really want to thank Red Bull Racing and Dr Helmut Marko for the confidence they have in me.”

    Therein lies the rub. Helmut wants, Helmut gets. After a few seasons without him in the spotlight he has thrown his hat well and truly back into the ring in the fight to be F1’s biggest villain.

    1. he has thrown his hat well and truly back into the ring in the fight to be F1’s biggest villain.

      True that. He’s not like one of the menacing or intimidating villains like Darth Vader, he’s more of the Gollum kind.

      1. Haha. Agreed.

    2. He is running a business, not a fan club.
      RB was and is always supporting young talent but only to a certain degree. Looking at the abysmall performance compared to Ric Kyatt juist did not fit the bill.
      It only was by the leaving of Vettel, Kyatt got his place. Now he has the opportunity to let the world see if he can beat sainz.

  9. Well this will be fun. Big test for VES and RIC.

  10. Rumours of a blazing row between the Verstappen camp and Tost after Sochi qualifying, supposedly because STR were ordered to save tyres in quali to have RBR (read: Kvyat) ahead of them in an important race for them commercially. Instead Max and his engineer disobeyed and went for Q3 to look for the best starting spot, something Tost thought was a bad decision. Tost ofcourse is a noticeably hot-headed man so maybe after this RB thought they’d save their golden boy from a few races of the doghouse? It all ties in with wanting to keep him for 2017 and beyond, and Kvyat’s poor form. Either way, it’s odd that such a divisive man as Tost can be given as important a task as nurturing some of the biggest talents in the world.

    1. Source?

  11. If Max does turn out to be the next Senna, this sure will make for a compelling part of his story once his career is over. Youngest driver to enter F1 after which the age rule was changed…promoted to a top team mid-season after only 23 F1 races…

    1. on the few starts before joining a top team Kimi had only 17 GP starts, and 40 car races to his name when he went to McLaren

  12. Now what happens when Max doesn´t perform as expected ?

    I am not saying he is not capable but maybe he finds it difficult to take the pressure of being in the senior team. Where does he go then, where can Red Bull put him? Career over ?, 3rd driver for another team next year ?

    RedBull did something really crazy and extreme, I just hope they get a surprise outcome.

    1. If he doesn’t perform up to Ricciardo s form we need to remember he isn’t 20 for another 2 seasons.

      1. Yhat wouldn’t be much of a problem if he was brought in next year. But now This going to be difficult as all eyes will be on him now to proof that this swap was the right move. He will have to perform right away. I’m very sure he is capable of that though, although I hope he will be guided closely in the next few months.I hate to see his promising F1 carreer destroyed like this.

        1. Well if they want him in next year, why not right away?

  13. There will be massive pressure on all 4 drivers now to perform.
    Sainz to proof that he belongs in the main Redbull team by outscoring Kvyat. Thus shouldn’t be a problem in his first few racs as he is used to the STR. But will be a challenge in the second part.
    For Kvyat to proof that he still belongs to F1 in 2017 by out scoring Sainz and proof to Helmut Marco that promoting Verstappen was the wrong move.
    Ricciardo to keep him being the main nr1 driver at the RBR team and to keep Verstappen behind him.
    Verstappen to proof that the choice of RBR to promote him was the right move. He has to avoid any mistakes especially in the first few races as all eyes will be on him now with so much expectations. Also later in the season he will be expected to challenge Ricciardo regularly and beat him some races.

    Whether this move is right or wrong it’s interesting for sure.

  14. I am a big fan of Max Verstappen. There were alot of critics out there saying he was too young and inexperienced for F1 when he arrived and they were proved wrong. Moving to Red Bull is a great opportunity for the guy, I don’t doubt that for a moment. If the rumours are true, Ferrari and others were interested in the Dutchmen, so for Red Bull to secure his services long term is a good move.
    However, if Red Bull were so sure about Verstappen, why not sign him up to the parent team in the off season? It all seems messy and spur of the moment. We all know Kyvat screwed up in Russia. The guy admitted as much in public which is a rarity for a top line sportsman. In this situation, it is hard not to feel sorry for Kyvat. He got a raw deal in China, for pulling off a move Sebastian Vettel has done hundreds of times in his career. It just seems to me to be rushed and not properly thought out, abit like Red Bull’s current race car.

    1. Forgot to add all the podiums he scored in 2012 showing his will to win.

  15. @the limit: indeed, they should’ve just made the switch during the winter.

Comments are closed.