Max Verstappen will race for Toro Rosso in 2015, it was confirmed this week.
The Dutchman, son of former Benetton, Simtek, Arrows, Tyrell, Stewart, Honda and Minardi driver, Jos Verstappen, will become Formula One’s youngest ever driver next March when he lines up on the grid in Australia. He will replace Jean-Eric Vergne.
Vergne, 24, has raced with Toro Rosso since 2012 but was ignored during the search for Mark Webber’s replacement at sister team Red Bull, where his then team-mate Daniel Ricciardo was subsequently appointed. Following the news that Verstappen would be racing with the team in 2015, it was then confirmed that he would replace Vergne, following the Frenchman’s unimpressive performance when compared to rookie team-mate Daniil Kvyat.
“I would like to thank Dr. Helmut Marko and Red Bull for all their trust and giving me the chance to make my Formula debut in 2015 with Scuderia Toro Rosso,” Verstappen said in a Toro Rosso press release. ” Ever since I was seven years old, Formula 1 has been my career goal, so this opportunity is truly a dream come true.”
Toro Rosso Team Principal Franz Tost added: “We are happy to welcome Max into the Toro Rosso family. It’s great to see how the Red Bull Junior Programme continues to find talented young drivers and gives them the opportunity to come into Formula 1. We consider Max to be as one of the most skilled young drivers of the new generation and we believe he has the necessary maturity and mental strength to take on this challenge successfully.”
Verstappen’s team-mate to-be, Daniil Kvyat, was also a surprising appointment when Red Bull pulled him straight from GP3 to Formula One, where he has proved himself to any doubters by scoring points in his first race and overshadowing his more experienced team-mate.
Verstappen’s appointment means he will break the record as the youngest driver ever to race in Formula One, at the age of 17 years and 166 days, beating Jaime Alguersuari’s record by almost two years. Alguersuari was a Toro Rosso driver between 2009 and 2011, losing his seat to allow the aforementioned Ricciardo and Vergne into the team, and failing to secure a drive for the following year. He tweeted cryptic tweets before the 2013 season, hinting that he had secured a drive, although this later turned out to be false.
Image courtesy of Red Bull/Getty Images.