Max Verstappen to become youngest F1 driver on race weekend

Dutch teenager will drive in Japanese practice three days after his 17th birthday

Max Verstappen will become the youngest driver to take part in a Formula One weekend when he drives for Toro Rosso in Friday practice at the Japanese Grand Prix three days after his 17th birthday.

Sebastian Vettel was 19 years and 53 days when he took part in free practice for BMW Sauber in Turkey in 2006.

The Dutch youngster was granted his super licence by FIA after completing 300km in his first test in an F1 car in Italy earlier this month.

Verstappen, the son of the former F1 driver Jos, will drive Jean-Éric Vergne’s car in the first practice session at Suzuka.


“It is good preparation for next year, even if it’s not something I could have imagined a few months ago,” said Verstappen, who will replace Vergne next season. “To already be participating in a practice session is a dream come true. My dad has raced at Suzuka many times and he told me it’s not an easy track to start on.

“I’m not going there to break any records, I just want to gain experience.

“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.”