Dutch teenager Max Verstappen gets F1 drive
The 16-year-old son of ex-Formula One racer Jos Verstappen is not old enough to hold an ordinary driver’s licence
Dutch racing driver Max Verstappen prior to the Formula 3 Zandvoort Masters in Zandvoort, The Netherlands. Verstappen is set to become Formula One’s youngest driver ever. He will join the Toro Rosso team in 2015. Photograph: Sander Koning/EPA
Max Verstappen has been warned that senior Formula One drivers will not be happy to see the teenager lining up on the grid with them next season.
Verstappen — 17 in September and currently competing in Formula Three — will replace Frenchman Jean-Eric Vergne.
And former McLaren assistant team manager Tony Jardine, who also worked with Brabham and Lotus, is convinced it is something that will not be greeted warmly by some of Verstappen’s new competitors.
Jardine said: “What the senior drivers will think about it — don’t ask them, because they won’t like it.”
Toro Rosso team principal Franz Tost has stressed his belief that Verstappen has the ”mental strength” to cope with life in F1 and described the former karting world champion as ”one of the most skilled young drivers of the new generation”.
Jardine is in no doubt Verstappen has plenty of talent. “This kid is good,” Jardine said. “He has been racing karts since he was around eight or nine years of age, he has won eight times already in the Formula Three series. So they decided to take him into the Red Bull junior team and he is going to replace Vergne.
“He looks like a wonder-kid, but he is going to be the youngest-ever on a Grand Prix grid. In the Netherlands, where he comes from, the age is 18 to get your driving licence, so it is going to be a huge story for the Dutch media.
“But the point is he has been racing since he was a little boy, like Lewis Hamilton. He will already have quite a few years of experience racing by the time he gets to the grid.”