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Superkid Max Verstappen confirmed for Toro Rosso race seat in 2015
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Posted By: Justin Hynes  |  18 Aug 2014   |  8:34 pm GMT  |  180 comments

Red Bull tonight announced that Max Verstappen will be handed a race seat at Toro Rosso for the 2015 season. His 17th birthday is next month..

Less than a week after the Dutch racer, who is the same age as children collecting their GCSE exam results this week, signed for Red Bull’s Junior Team it was this evening announced on the company’s Austrian television station, Servus TV, that he will drive for Toro Rosso next season in place in Jean-Eric Vergne. The French driver is set to part company with Toro Rosso in November after three seasons with the Faenza-based squad.

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Presuming that the 2015 season will start in mid-March, Verstappen will be aged 17 years and 5 months when he makes his grand prix debut next year. He will thus become the youngest driver ever to race in Formula One, taking the accolade from former Red Bull junior Jaime Alguersuari, who made his debut at the 2009 Hungarian Grand Prix aged 19 years and 125 days.

Verstappen, the son of former Benetton racer Jos, is a world kart champion and currently racing in the FIA F3 European Championship. He made the switch from karts to cars less than a year ago and has 8 wins from his 25 races so far, enough to qualify for an FIA super licence. But established F1 stars may question whether he is too inexperienced to race at the highest level.

Last weekend at the Nurburgring he claimed his eighth win of the season. He is currently in second place in the championship standings with 325 points, 77 behind series leader Esteban Ocon, with two race weekends and six rounds left.

Verstappen’s countrymen Jan Lammers and current Sauber reserve driver Giedo van der Garde were both quoted this week by Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf as saying that the prodigy is not too young to race in F1.

“In terms of age, it can be very easy,” Lammers said. “At the age of 4, Max was already in a kart and the transition from Formula 3 to Formula One is not illogical. Alain Prost, Kimi Raikkonen, myself, we all did it. No one should forget that Max is a talent of the highest quality.”

Van der Garde added: “Personally, I think 17 is very young, but some are just mature earlier than others. When I look at myself, I was absolutely not ready for Formula One. Of course, it helps that his father Jos was in Formula One and knows exactly how everything works.”

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Where the decision leaves Vergne is not clear. The French driver is currently 13th in F1 Drivers’ Championship standings, with 11 points, three ahead of 15th-placed team-mate Daniil Kvyat.

Twenty-four-year-old Vergne is ahead 6-5 in the qualifying battle with his 20-year-old Russian team-mate and has four points finishes to his credit this year, including two eighth-place results, in Australia and Canada. Kvyat, too, has scored points four times, with a best finish of ninth, in Australia and Britain.

For most people it’s the age at which they start learning to drive, let alone race an 800 horsepower F1 car.

Do you believe 17 years old is too young to race in Formula One? Let us know your thoughts.

 

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180 Comments
  1. Mike wilkins says:

    Not sure about his age. … but his eyes are so like his dad!
    Jos was so underestimated. … Rock on I say!

    1. stantob says:

      I remember him light fueling his Orange Arrows for qualifying and running and fighting with the top teams in the race…. before he had to pit! Always loved watching him!

      1. John says:

        A very very small step left until the first 14 year old F1 driver.

        The sport truly is dead.

  2. Jean-Louis says:

    I’ve watched almost all his F3 races this year. In the first races he made some rookie mistakes, but since Spa he has been absolutely flawless. He is way ahead of his fellow F3 racers in maturity and handling kickbacks. Yesterday he pushed Fuoco in a mistake to take 3rd. Ocon is downright obnoxious when he’s not at the front. If Jos thinks his son is ready, he must be!

    1. Wayne says:

      Let’s hope he is not burnt out by the experience and we see a talent wasted. Hopefully he will be protected and cocooned, but F1 is a shark tank! 17 just sounds too young, but the F1 big-wigs know what they’re doing most of the time, I just don’t want to see (1) RBR’s desperation for a VET replacement lead to ruination of this young man’s career or (2) the jeopardising of the safety of others on track. 2 is unlikely but 1 is entirely possible.

      Good luck to him.

    2. Lele says:

      Where does one get to see European Formula3 races?
      I’m so curious to check him out!

      1. Fenz says:

        http://www.fiaf3europe.com They’ve a livestream and on Youtube http://bit.ly/1rU3u3d you can find all the past races of this season.

      2. Robin van Dijk says:

        Just go to the official FIA European F3 youtube channel and you can see every race of this season. During race weekends you can watch the race and qualifying live on the FIA European F3 championship website.

        Max has shown some incredible things this year, great overtakes but also very fast lap times in qualifying. He seem to have the ability to overtake at places where rarely others try to overtake. During one of the Nurburgring races he showed some of this skill, going through two or three corners side by side just to set himself up to overtake his opponent. Another great overtake was the overtake from 4th to 2nd during the second Spa race, it was amazing to see and well thought through.

        He’s very talented but I have some doubts about his age. Even so I can’t wait to see how he does in F1.

  3. Philip Pegler says:

    If the shoe fits, wear it.

  4. aezy_doc says:

    That’s bananas. But if you’re fast enough and good enough… Time will tell.

  5. Simmo says:

    Wow! This is insane! Brilliant too :D I cannot wait to see how he gets on, and how he copes with the pressure.

    It just seems weird somebody so young will be racing in Formula 1, racing with the worlds best drivers around streets and tracks.

  6. Tom says:

    Not sure what to think about this yet. The kid has talent no question. In fact he might be the most talented young driver the Red Bull programme has had. He has the cool head his father Jos infamously lacks. Red Bull must see something astronomically brilliant in him to drop him in at the deep end at such a young age. If they’re right, he could be a legend in the making.

    But I can’t help thinking it’s too soon. Alguersuari springs to mind – showed great potential but his career was ruined by trying to run before he could walk.

    With the faith Red Bull are showing in him, if he doesn’t at least wipe the floor with Kvyat then it’s going to look like an odd decision. And personally I can’t see that happening. Then again, I would never have predicted Kvyat would do as well as he has…

    Conflicted!

    1. Tom says:

      Just to add… I think the midfield teams could do a lot worse than Vergne for next year too. He was a match for Ricciardo over their time as team mates, and look where Daniel is now.

      1. Andrew M says:

        Unfortunately I think JEV wont be picked up by anyone, and a career in some other formula beckons. I said in response to the “Five people with things to prove” that Vergne’s days at Toro Rosso were numbered; I didn’t think that would equate to “two days”…

      2. harv says:

        Out-qualified by Ricciardo almost 80% of their time together? Don’t know if that can be classed as being a match for him – the fact that they weren’t too different in points was more due to the fact the Torro Rosso was a lower midfield car, and there weren’t too many opportunities for either of them. When Ricciardo would put the car up higher than it should be due to his supreme one lap pace, and then move backwards in the race, people would say his racecraft didn’t match his quali pace – but the fact was, the car started higher than it should have been, so only had one direction to go on race day. This year proves that Ricciardo has good racecraft to match his quali pace, whereas Vergne hasn’t proven that he has that one lap pace (apart from the rare occasion).

      3. Aus Fan says:

        I wish people would stop generalising and saying ‘Vergne was a match for Ricciardo’ during their time together, Verne was dominated by Riccardo in qualifying, particularly when under pressure (i.e competing for Webber’s seat last year).

        In races I believe the only reason it even appeared sometimes that Vergne moved forward compared to his teammate is because Vergne qualified further back with slower cars around him compared to the cars around Ricciardo + therefore had fresher tyres to use in the race having usually not even made q3. Daniel was already right at the limit of where the car could be, so he usually just maintained or even dropped a place or 2 in the race, not due to poor race ability compared to Vergne, but because he was racing in a group of faster cars than the ones Vergne was racing usually & he had usually stuck the Toro Rosso in Q3 and had less fresh race tyres to use than Vergne as a result.

      4. Stephen says:

        Even putting JEV in the same sentence as RIC is rediculous. Their performance gap was huge and JEV was never good enough for a genuine F1 seat. He’s had 3 years, time to move to DTM or Le Mans. I’m not sure he’s even good enough for Indycars.

  7. Klaas Twisk says:

    I’ve said it before: if you’re good enough, you’re old enough. This kid will shock the world. Phenomenal talent. And a cool head on his shoulders. We’ll just have to wait and see if Redbull will nurture him.

  8. Aelfwald says:

    I don’t know if 17 is too young, but I do think it can only go wrong. Another couple of years learning out of the spot would surely be better. Maybe it’s about grabbing any opportunity for Verstappen, but If he is the real deal delaying his debut wouldn’t matter. I wonder if Red Bull got in to a bidding war with Mercedes and ended up offering him a drive to secure his signature. Having said that I wish the best of luck.

    1. James Clayton says:

      I believe it’s too soon for Max. But we don’t know how forcefully he went for the seat. If he and his father were pushing hard for it, then on their own heads be it. However, if they weren’t pushing and Red Bull made the offer, I guess he doesn’t really have any choice other than to accept.

    2. Jeroen says:

      I was thinking the same thing, but even if they got into a bidding war… it does show that Red Bull has huge faith in Max. Otherwise they wouldn’t have gone so far to get his signature.

      Very young though, and I wonder of that is a good thing. GP2 or Renault 3.5 for a year wouldn’t have been a bad move. On the other hand, given the current pace of F1 I think physically there isn’t that much difference between GP2 or F1. Mentally though F1 is going to be a lot tougher on Max than GP2 would have been, the pressure is going to be huge and I can only hope that Red Bull will help hem cope with the pressure.

    3. Kris says:

      The majority here seems to think that 17 isn’t too young. I tend to agree, although I think it absolutely requires that Red Bull takes a slightly different approach than it has in the past with Jaime A and Sebastian B. Whereas the expectation on previous drivers was to show RBR readiness within two years or be discarded, it would be terrible for F1 to see a 19 year old (Max after two years) get tossed onto the scrap heap as other Red Bull jr drivers have been.

      You’d have to hope that the programme with Max is slightly longer and less cut throat and that he’s given more than a couple of years to develop at a reasonable pace. There’s a lot of discussion about Ricciardo and Vergne on this page but it shouldn’t be forgotten that the former was given the opportunity to tootle along at the back of the grid in a HRT before joining a competitive team. I can’t help but think that might be a better place to cut one’s teeth than being tossed straight into the midfield. I can’t see either of the Caterham drivers sticking and yet having the opportunity to race against one (possibly three, depending on competitiveness with Marussia) would give ample opportunity to race against pro (albeit lower quality) racers while getting a real feel for f1. I just can’t help but feel that a rocky start in the lower midfield might do him more harm than good.

  9. zombie says:

    At 17 i could barely make ramen noodles ! Well deserved opportunity i say. It feels like the other day watching his dad drive into Montoya in Brazil,life sure goes by pretty fast !

    The rate at which Torro Rosso hires and fires drivers, i hope they will some day have a separate series called “RedBull Rejects Racing” to place Alguersuari,Speed,Klien,Buemi, Bourdais and now Vergne.

    1. CJD says:

      up till now, they found vettle (worth quite a few bucks..) and it looks like now the found – daniel!

      2 out ouf 8 (sorry 9 – webber) – i think quite a good quote at the bookmakers …and 4 wdc’s

      greetings

      1. CJD says:

        and the yearly salery diff between vettel and alonso is the salary of all those drivers together ;) ..

      2. Rob Cromo says:

        Dont forget the very talented rookie of DC

      3. cee says:

        Webber wasnt an rb jr so he can’t be on the list but if you are throw DC into it as well

    2. Vivek says:

      Surely, will set an potentially unbreakable record for minimum time-gap between father’s last F1 race and son’s first F1 race. Just 12-13 years.

    3. Dutch johhny says:

      Funny because that moment seem ages ago to me. Perception of time is a strange thing my friend.

  10. Wonder how long it will be before we see him at the big boy’s team with Ricardo?

  11. Gaz Boy says:

    Is this just a PR stunt on a genuine smart move?
    Nobody knows yet……………..
    Blimey, he’s not even an adult yet!

    1. Gaz Boy says:

      PS In his favour, he does have a superb racing CV…………….
      What’s that old cliche? If a driver is good enough, he’s old enough.
      Remember folks, Jenson and Fernando were just 19 years old when they started out on their F1 adventure…………….of course, those two were exceptional. If this son of Jos is exceptional, age won’t be an issue.
      If, if, if…………………F1 is spelt backwards!

    2. Jason says:

      im with u,where will it end? will we see a racer straight out of karts next? im just glad its not my head on the block. to this end what is the point of gp2/3?

  12. David in Sydney says:

    I think this is all a bit silly. What, when they’re 30 they are too old?

    I forsee a Formula X on the horizon, using V10 engined, where minimum age is 30.

    Max will not be held back by winning the GP3 and GP2 Championships before he heads into F1. In fact, winning either Championship should be a pre-requisite, if not a Championship position in the top 5 of GP2 in the preceding year.

    Grown ups can drive, too!

    1. Rubinho's keyfob says:

      Wow. A “veteran’s” formula (both machines and men). I like it! :D

      “Formula Once” :)

    2. Aus Fan says:

      Great idea, v10, no driver aids, no in car adjustments for drivers except for roll bars and brake balance, engine must run on only 1 fuel map all race distance. Run it as a support event to the F1′s, I know which would get more viewers lol.

      I wanna see REAL racing, not DRS, push to pass modes, he used a different fuel map, my ERS needs to charge etc.

      Gimme a good 30 lap battle building up to a single pass ANYDAY over 30 laps of switching positions every lap having to stop for tyres 4 times and not knowing if the guy behind got past the guy in front on skill or because his tyres were newer/fuel mix was richer/had DRS/was on a different strategy and the guy just decided to let him through, had an ers malfunction etc etc etc.

      YAWN! The ‘racing’ this year has been so artificial, all in the name of being able to increase the amount of ‘overtakes’. But when a guy is on different tyres or uses DRS or a different fuel map to just blast past someone, is it really QUALITY? Fernando and Seb at Silverstone wasn’t quality, it was one driver on fresh tyres and another on stuffed tyres trying to make the best of their situation. Hardly a fair fight, just frustrating, and gee didn’t we hear it from the drivers. That says it all really.

  13. DC says:

    So does this show that Max is the most amazingly talented F1 hopeful ever, and he simply has to get into an F1 car right now to show the world the talents that clearly lift him way above all of his competitors and peers….. or….

    …is it just so easy to drive a modern F1 car that a 17 year old with 25 car races in a junior formula can do it no sweat. Is that what F1 should be?

    1. Andrew says:

      It shows how helpful having an F1 daddy is. I’m beginning to think any Tom Dick or Harry would be a decent F1 driver if groomed from an early age like Rosberg/Piquet/Hill/Verstappen/Magnussen/Senna/Villeneuve/Andretti/Brabham. Palmer will be next.

      People are always moaning about pay drivers, well what about all these Daddy put my career on a silver plate for me drivers? It’s happening far too frequently.

      1. Jeroen says:

        I don’t know, can’t really say that the fathers of those guys made their career. I mean, Max does show huge potential, its not like his father is driving the car and it is not like his dad is buying his F1 seat. His name maybe just allowed him to make the jump to F1 a year sooner.

        Other than that his father of course knows how to build a racing career, where to race to get yourself in the spotlight… he knows all the right people to talk to etc. And last but not least, F1 daddies probably have the money to support their child through a racing career. Karting gets expensive fast when you step into the higher championships. Peanuts compared to F1, but still more money than most can give their child.

        And what is talent exactly? Scientists believe that talent is defined in your DNA, and since your DNA is based on that of your parents it should be a simple fact that the chance of having the same talent as your father is rather large.

      2. Aaron says:

        Motorsport is incredibly expensive. Unless you are a multi-millionaire, to get to the top you have to raise millions in sponsorship. Having a parent who is famous and knows exactly who to ask for such things is a massive step in the right direction.

        The costs of competing in various formulas are in this article. It’s a few years out of date, but I very much doubt they have decreased.

      3. Michael says:

        Andrew@ Would it really be that easy like you wants us to believe? I only think that the know how of F1 and the mistakes Jos Verstappen has make in the past has help him to get his son Max ready for a drive in F1. Max Verstappen never should have a chance to join F1 on this age if Red Bull not saw an new talent and future champion in him. Don’t forget that he is chosen for his driving skill’s and his mature behaviour during the F3 races this year. So I admit he is lucky to have a father with F1 experience, but the driving skill’s and mature behaviour is his own merit.

    2. Robert says:

      You have put forth a very good angle on this…if it is THAT easy, and frankly safe, then is it all just too comfortable to be the ultimate racing challenge? For if that is the case…then where IS the challenge? What about this sport EXACTLY separates the men from the boys?

      It seems, now…nothing.

    3. Spinodontosaurus says:

      Raikkonen only had 23 car races to his name when he had his first race with Sauber back in 2001. Granted he was 21 years old, not 17.

      That said, however good the boy is, spending a year or two in categories like GP2 prior to making the leap into F1 would surely be beneficial.

  14. Jimbob says:

    He’s not too young, age has nothing to do with it. If he can drive quickly without being a danger to others on the track then it’s all good… He looks damn quick and has adapted well to cars so he could do well.

  15. Andrew Carter says:

    He’s either going to do a Raikkonen or be washed up before he’s 20.

    I do feel sorry for the other 3 drivers on the RB Junior program (Sainz, Gasley and Lynn), they’re all doing exactly what they should be doing in their respective championships and have just been jumped by a kid who was signed to the program a week ago.

    1. Stephen Taylor says:

      Speaking of Raikkonen , Verstappen will be 17 by the time of his GP debut. If Kimi continues with Ferrari in 2015 the 35 year old Raikkonen will be racing against someone in Max Verstappen who is roughly half his age. Now there is a scary thought. I would also like to add that I wish Verstappen junior every success in his F1 career and hope he proves any doubters wrong.

    2. LollipopMan says:

      What about Antonio Felix da Costa? He won Macau and came 2nd the following year. The world’s toughest race. How many Macau GPs has Max won? Even Lynn won Macau last year (and 3rd the year before when da Costa won) and he’s overlooked as well. What a joke. Seems like Red Bull’s running a disposable driver programme. What a waste of talent. Even Vettel will be considered too old soon, and he’s 27!

  16. David Ryan says:

    This is bordering on the ridiculous. Max is clearly talented, but going into F1 at 17? He can’t even hold a provisional road licence in the Netherlands yet…and for all that F3 will have taught him, I’d question whether he’s going to be physically ready for 5g under braking and 4g under cornering by the time Melbourne rolls around. The kid is barely out of puberty – I’m sure he’ll be able to bulk up enough in time, but will this have long-term implications for his spine etc? I’d have thought a gradual progression via GP2/FR 3.5 would be a more sensible approach – it’s worked well enough for Vettel, Ricciardo and Magnussen, after all. And that’s before we get into the gulf between F3 and F1 nowadays…

    1. Sebee says:

      He has no proper concept of risk or danger, even though he has most to lose. Apparently that part of the brain doesn’t start to finalize development until 18-20, and the actual risk assesment logic doesn’t change substancially until mid 20s. Isn’t that what’s needed from a fast driver?

      1. Sebee says:

        Here you go:

        >
        In fact, research from the National Institutes of Health has shown, the prefrontal cortex, a region of the brain associated with inhibition of risky behavior, doesn’t get fully developed until age 25. The connections between the prefrontal cortex and other areas of the brain are also developing in teenagers. And a number of deep structures in the brain are influenced by changes in hormones, which may lead to heightened emotions.

        The way that brain regions talk to one another in teenagers may explain teens’ sometimes confounding behavior, scientists say. Even in their mid-teens, adolescents can make quick, efficient, correct decisions; in the heat of the moment, though, the brain’s deep emotional centers will win out over reason.

        “It’s not like these brain parts aren’t there. It’s how they get wired and become fine-tuned with experiences,” said BJ Casey, director of the Sackler Institute at Weill Medical College of Cornell University.

      2. David Ryan says:

        Very good point as well – it’s all painting a rather mixed picture for him. Being in control when you’re near the top of a spec formula is one thing, but being in control when your car is off the pace and you’ve got that much pressure on you is another altogether. They talk about “rookie syndrome” for a reason, and I can only hope Max isn’t the next victim of it. Otherwise he’ll end up being the youngest F1 exile as well.

      3. Rubinho's keyfob says:

        “Isn’t that what’s needed from a fast driver?”

        Not necessarily. You also need one that will get to the end of the race. Being reckless (having a relaxed attitude to risk) doesn’t always do that.

        Also, you have to be aware that each and every driver also potentially holds the lives of the rest of the field in their hands. Look at GRO and MAL in the last few years (and even RAI at Silverstone, though not for the same reasons) – a lack of judgement can potentially have devastating results.

        The less experience one has and the more open one is to risk, the more likely one will make a bad judgement call at some point. Do the other drivers really want to be driving around that at 180mph?

        Anyway, you make a good point. There are age limits in sports where contestants may not be physically robust enough to compete without a severe risk of injury to themselves. In F1 the mantra is “if you are strong enough to drive the car …” (which is why it’s a sport in which males and females can theoretically compete on an even footing) – but ignoring the mechanical act of driving the car (and the whole lack of testing issue), is there any thought as to whether the contestants are _mentally_ robust enough in terms of their attitude to risk etc (even when that might affect others more than themselves)?

        It’s an interesting one, for sure.

      4. Rockman says:

        I agree with Sebee on this statement.

        The good drivers are very fast when they’re young.

        The great ones remain just as fast, even improving as they get older.

        Most won’t have the same commitment and speed once they get older.

      5. Sticky Piston says:

        Sounds like you are describing Maldanado : )

      6. Sebee says:

        @Rubinho’s keyfob

        First, I think we have to stop calling it a sport. Seriously. Young Max can be naive enough to call it a sport, and perhaps his dad explained it to him already. We should call it a spectacle, entertainment, marketing platform – really. It’s the truth – it’s time we call a spade a spade.

        Second, your point “which is why it’s a spectacle in which males and females can theoretically compete on an even footing”
        I think this needs to be addressed. Reality is that political correctness has us believing many things. Many of those things go against our instincts, but are in fact right. On this point, reality is that there are significant differences mechanically in the male machine vs female machine – in the most basic of build, capability, etc. There are different thicknesses in bones, different capabilities in twitch muscles needed for reflexes, different strength capabilities, even brain function. This is why a female machine must be pushed harder to take on some of the attributes of the male machine to be able to perform at the same level. I wonder what kind of commitment, suplementation and perhaps medical help is needed to to achieve this. I recently saw some female ruggby players and at my age I find it hard to believe personally that some hormone treatment isn’t used to assist in maintaining that level of muscle on a female body. So, it really is a man’s world in the marketing platform of F1, and to get to this level a female body must first work twice as hard to simply achieve some of the mechanical and functional capability of a male body before even sitting behind a wheel of a car. And then there is the whole issue of actually getting to the top.

        But I think a female body, properly trained, and declared the #1 driver in a top team built around her would likely have the best chance of success in F1. Bernie having daughters only (right?) should really push for the cause. Engineers can overcome some of the challenges of body mechanics with clever engineering and take advantage of some of the benefits, like size and weight. And as we know, a fast car advantage can overcome any deficiencies – and F1 is the place where this can be done. Could the male world of F1 handle such a possibility? Or is a woman F1 champion in a dominant car too risky for ratings? I tell you, a lot of female Mercedes drivers out there – don’t they deserve a proper effort being made by F1 to support a woman? Danica Patrick takes Lewis’ seat in 2015? :-)

      7. Michael says:

        Theoretical nonsense, you can’t compare every 17 year old. The are not all starting in a cart on the age of 4,5 and start driving cart competitions of the age of 7. Some kids are growing up and getting mature faster than other kids of there age. And that is not alone in sports but also in the actual world we living in. Kids in country’s of civil wars (for example) are faster mature because the environment the live in. The simply have to to survive. So theoretical this research will stand, but on a practical point of view it don’t.

    2. Grayzee says:

      Totally agree, mate. Let the kid grow up first. Another year want do any harm.

  17. Shri says:

    This is it for JEV.

    Good luck to Verstappen.

    James – would RB not let Verstappen drive this year and gain valuable experience ? They may have little to gain by letting JEV hanging around till end of year

    1. Matthew Cheshire says:

      That’s harsh. Surely Jev earned his seat and he should finish his stint. He hasn’t driven badly to be sacked.
      Kvyat has much to learn from experience, he won’t get that from a 16 year old.

      That said, JEV should have seen this coming last year and been looking for options. It’s his fault if he hasn’t. Torro Rosso is a feeder team, drivers will never stay indefinitely.

  18. Norbert says:

    I think it’s not the best idea ever. Probably promise of Toro Rosso seat was the thing, that conviced Verstappens to sign with Red Bull instead of Mercedes.
    However, considering how the RB Programme works, Max will probably burn out before any seats at Red Bull Racing get vacant, therefore will lose his chance to ever shine in F1. In three years (that’s more or less an average time of STR drivers’ careers) he will be 20 years old, without any wins or podiums and a seat to drive.
    I’m cheering for him, but that doesn’t look too good.
    Yeah, I know Seb is probably going to leave RBR, but I don’t really think it will be within next three years. There’s nowhere to go at the moment.

    1. Michael says:

      Don’t worry……if he is good enough and there is no place in the RB senior team, the will stall him with a other top F1 team. For example Williams, who always can use some financial backup for the team.

  19. Sebee says:

    What were YOU doing at 17 years of age?

    Me? Beside being highly interested in the opposite sex, I finally bought my first proper HiFi with a pair of B&W speakers that took me for ever to save up for. I still had a LEGO set…hey, buzz off, it was an advanced Technic set!

    1. Random 79 says:

      Nothing wrong with LEGO Sebee.

      Respect.

      1. Dufus says:

        Mechano was better.

      2. Sebee says:

        Dufus,

        Can you do this with Mechano?
        http://mummysmiles.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/IMG_6415.jpg

        Final score
        Lego 1 : 0 Mechano

    2. Stephen Taylor says:

      When I was 17 I was doing A levels and doing them badly.

      1. Sebee says:

        Were your A levels being broadcast worldwide?

        We are obsessed with youth. From looks, to achievements to hairlessness. Is this a psychologically healthy obsession?

    3. kenneth chapman says:

      @ seebee….at 17 years was only interested in chasing [and catching a few ]girls, driving my MG TC, studying and working, surfing non stop and intent on becoming a dedicated hedonist with a few $$$ in my pocket. more or less totally normal for a 17year old.

      i don’t think that lego had been invented at that time hahahaha

      1. Sebee says:

        It was, but it was probably still wooden! :-)

        At least you had a car. Makes it easier with girls.

      2. kenneth chapman says:

        @ seebee….ever tried it on in an MGTC? best of luck mon ami.

      3. Sebee says:

        Never did. But looks like it had a bench seat, so no dividing obstacles. And it had room for a blanket, meaning you could drive it to a spot where said blanket could be utilized in intended manner to achieve horizontal position. Beats a bicycle I had at 17.

      4. kenneth chapman says:

        @ saeebee….well in a manner of speaking you are right. the car was the magnet,fortunately. things did improve though with the aquisition at 18years of age of a morgan coupe de’ville which was both superb in finish with real leather top/tonneau/seats and white carpet with walnut dash!!!

        it was both fast and cool. a TR2 engine mated to what was the original D type jaguar gearbox. i raced that car extensively at club level and had lotsa fun. best of though was the ‘magnet effect’ of which i won’t go into detail, suffice to say, an adequate supply was maintained.

    4. JohnBt says:

      Sebee, then and now is a very different world we live in as you know.

      Now kids start racing at a very young age and they love squeezing buttons at high speed. I noticed the younger drivers are not all that bad so let’s give him a chance and see what happens. I heard on BBC this morning about a 16 year old being a part of F1, I’m wondering who that is as I missed the name when the radio was turned on.

      1. JohnBt says:

        It’s Max V! lol. He’ll be 17 when he steps into the car.

      2. Sebee says:

        Yes, my 16 month old knew how to operate an ipad. So what?
        Hardware is dumbed down today. Just because you can handle a PS4 doesn’t mean he can be put in potentially life or death scenario.

    5. Grayzee says:

      Hah! I’m with you, Sebee. I still had an AFX slot car track at 17 (ok, I have still have one, but it is now my 7 yr old son’s……ahem….)
      The kid is too young, physically, to be able to deal with the forces of an F1 car.
      I can’t see how this will not end in tears……………

      1. Sebee says:

        I guess we will all see how this experiment works out and how close to puberty we can get in an F1 pilot. We’ll give him plenty of slack for his youth. Obviously biggest concern is that he doesn’t hurt himself or someone else. So next year will be all about careful intro into F1.

      2. Michael says:

        Grayzee @ Keep your eyes open for next season and you will see a 17 year most talented driver working to be the worst nightmare of Daniil Kvyat. (lol)

    6. Drgraham lewis says:

      Hmm – I learned to drive at 9, owned a car at 11 (and through a strange ‘wheel right’ was able to drive to my secondary school in Cornwall, was racing grass track (illegally) by 12 including all maintenance and repairs, moto cross by 14 and so it carried on until a drunk driver at 19 while an apprentice for ECC ended pretty much everything.

      I returned at 26 to car racing and later Superkarts but the disabilities were a real struggle – still won numerous championships in karting mind. Despite the obvious issues my concept of risk never really changed and after that drunk driver, I still raced when I could afford it despite having much much more to lose in a bad off. Like limbs and movement.

      Age has little to do with it – however his physical ability and inexperience with F1 might…

      Perhaps they should consider rookie marks on the cars like they do in long circuit or Superkarts racing… Plus you start all race heats at the back until you have had 7 clean races.

    7. CJD says:

      but Max was on karttracks from the age of 4 or 5 on … you not … with 17 he already did 10 years of racing …

      1. CJD says:

        e.g. sebastian loeb just started racing with 17 ;)

  20. Jason says:

    i propose a series for former rb juniors and racers and current juniors who just took a slap inthe face. maybe a redbull breakaway championship would b a winner they have enough drivers currently and sum ex rbjr’s could make up numbers?

    1. Nick B says:

      Isn’t that Formula E?

    2. Liam Connolly says:

      I second this proposal

  21. Rj says:

    He is a star, and so is Ocon.

    JEV had 3 years, so much more time than 99% of non-RB drivers.

    Sainz is not considered seriously, just there for PR value. Lynn and Gasly not true RB Juniors as they have affiliation only though Lynn was tipped for TR before this news broke in the paddocks a couple of weeks ago.

    1. YouWho says:

      Your wrong Marko is desparately trying to place Sainz in Marussia- hes the real deal

  22. Adam Taylor says:

    Too young, I hope Red Bull don’t ruin his career before it’s even begun

    1. Rubinho's keyfob says:

      That was the final thing that occurred to me – whilst being inexperienced at this level and potentially being a bit more open to take risks than a more mature driver, if RB’s three-years-and-you’re-out pattern holds, that means he either needs to deliver big time in his first couple of seasons or it’s game over at 20 years old!

      So, not much more pressure lumped on his shoulders then …

      FWIW, I’d be more than happy to see this turn out well for him, but of course that may then set a precedent …

    2. Stephen Taylor says:

      With great horsepower comes great responsibility.

      1. kenneth chapman says:

        have you told maldonado about this?

  23. joew says:

    So there’s a good chance of him being out on his ear before he’s 21…

  24. DB says:

    I was going to write “too young”, but then I remembered my 2-year-old nephew figuring out things with which adults were having trouble. Maybe people are learning things earlier nowadays. I’ll wait and see…

    And, as a bonus, I now believe Emerson Fittipaldi’s statement that his promising grandson may be in F1 in two or three years. He’ll be a similar age to young Verstapen.

  25. Pkara says:

    Tooo young tooo soon.
    Congratulations to the lad but it could destroy hos career if he fails to perform. F1 is the pinacle & you need to serve yr education in the lower formula before the step up.

  26. Liam Connolly says:

    I’m still in school but Max here makes me feel old, amazing for him to race at 17, I would imagine like many youngsters he will be fast but perhaps crash prone, him and Kvyat should be a great battle.

  27. AuraF1 says:

    I’d generally say it’s a little too young – but I guess at least if the pressure is too much and he cracks he can do a Grosjean and come back again a few years later – after all he’ll barely be in his 20s on a second time around.

    People do mature at different speeds – there are some people who seem very focused and settled in their teens, some their 20s and some their 30s. Good luck to him – a shame for JEV but he’s suffered the charisma and momentum gap, it wasn’t a lack of talent, he just failed to capture the imagination – which is always bad in F1 – even if it’s not much he could do anything about.

    1. kenneth chapman says:

      @ aura F1….re vergne. no it wasn’t his non performance in the ‘charisma’ championship which curtailed his move to red bull. it was simply the fact that ricciardo was a better driver in so many areas. red bull have explained this in full before when they were tasked with giving an explanation of why they chose ricci.

      your statement that he failed to capture the imagination is correct. mediocre drivers have that effect. i do mean mediocre in the nicest way.

  28. Henry GC says:

    If he wins a race next year will they give him a bottle of coke to spray !

  29. Zaros says:

    I hope vergne can get a seat elsewhere maybe Sauber or Lotus he has driven well this year, even kept a mercedes behind him for 18 laps. Maybe if Button retires and Grosjean jumps to back to Eric Boullier vergne can replace Grosjean at Lotus.

    1. Jim says:

      Unfortunately for Vergne, most teams these days needs drivers to bring money, either themselves or from sponsorship. Does he have any?

      I’m guessing that this is why most ex Toro Rosso drivers leave F1: they’ve been sponsored by Red Bull up to that point, and when they’re dropped by RB they don’t have any other backing to get another seat. There will also be the stigma that Red Bull have judged them not good enough. It’s tough, but at least they’ve had a chance in F1 without having to have a rich dad.

  30. Grant H says:

    Hmmm not sure about this…

    Did dad pay for a seat?

    Guess we will see him before end of yr in practice else he wont have a super licence!

  31. Random 79 says:

    Am I right in thinking that there is no minimum age to compete in F1?

    At one time it would have been unthinkable for a twenty year old to race, and then we had Alguersuari at nineteen, and now Max at seventeen.

    I don’t want to take anything away from Max and I hope he does well, but although it might seem extreme now I’m just wondering if in ten years time in we might not end up with a fourteen year old on the starting grid.

    Sound ridiculous? See you in ten years…

  32. Ace says:

    I’m not really bothered about the age as long as he has the racecraft and speed to prove his worth, and not crash about causing mayhem for title contenders (grosjean 2012 and Maldonado all his life). But it definitely makes all of the people on this website wonder what each and every one of us was doing at 17….food for thought!

  33. Andrew S says:

    My question is not whether he has the skills to race .. clearly he does .. rather I’d ask does he have the other skills necessary for a well-rounded life? This is a valid question of all elite sports people that begin arduous training at a young age. For example, what if he plans to have a family later? How will his parenting skills be if he never has the time to learn about the ‘mortal’ world. Surely he wouldn’t expect his children to be racers like him. There are so many emotional, moral and societal lessons to learn that he simply won’t get in the secluded world of F1. Let’s hope his family are a rock solid foundation for him, because the rest of the F1 paddock won’t be.

  34. Bill says:

    I hope he manages a podium next year and we can watch Todt rush up to snatch the bottle of champagne out of his hands!

    1. CJD says:

      no problem with that, e.g. in austria you are allowed to drink “normal” alcohol from 16 on (e.g. beer, wine, spumante..) in some countys you are even allowed to drink strong alcoholic drinks at 16 (but most countries you have to be 18)

      greetings

    2. Stephen Taylor says:

      There won’t be Champagne problem in Bahrain or Abu Dhabi. They ban Alcohol anyway as the Muslim countries aren’t they?

  35. A-P says:

    James, do you know how the licence has been sorted out? I heard you on Radio 5live earlier but what you said about the racing MV has done doesn’t match the current published rules, so far as I can see.

    Old enough or not, I don’t see how MV qualifies for a Super Licence, re Appendix L, Articles 4 and 5. A driver needs to satisfy 5.1.1. *and* 5.1.2. [Article 5 as published does have a load of antiquated references in it, but what's there is still regurgitated when other parts of Appendix L are updated.]

    I well know about the 5.1.2.f “… judged by the FIA …” get-out clause, but that does not cover 5.1.1. which states you have to hold an International Grade A, which he doesn’t, and AFAIK he’s not yet done anything to qualify to do so.

    The new rules do allow that he qualified direct for Int Grade B from being an FIA Karting World Champion in 2013 (per 4.2.3.), but he has to compete in Grade B-required races to earn Grade A, and FIA F3 Europe has been only a Grade C-required championship since 2013.

    In theory, (and unless he’s been doing double-duty, moonlighting in DTM in disguise all year!) he needs 5 top-5 places in WSR 3.5 &or WEC &or USCC racing to gain Grade A by next March.

    Thanks for any light you can shed, it all looks like murky shadows to me with only “book knowledge” to go from.

    1. James Allen says:

      I need to check, but he can do a series of tests in a 2 year old F1 car to qualify, that is another way.

      Kvyat did that, I believe.

      1. A-P says:

        James, thanks, looking forward to your findings.

        Regards Kvyat, the testing milage (if 2 year-old cars count, but I’ve read it might not have for Silvestro?) would have been what allowed the 5.1.2.f FIA’s choice get-out (or should one say “get-in”) clause to be invoked, and is not relevant to 5.1.1.

        However, Kvyat raced GP3, and GP3 (unlike FIA F3) *is* a Grade B-required championship, by which Kvyat would have gained eligibility for his Grade A licence and thus fulfilled 5.1.1. the regular way, unlike (to date) Verstappen.

        [Note, anomalously, being Champion of GP3 as Kvyat was does not fulfill 5.1.2 while fulfilling 5.1.1; whereas the champion of the FIA F3 would satisfy 5.1.2 without needing the testing milage, but would not automatically satisfy 5.1.1!]

    2. Drgraham lewis says:

      That was my understanding too. The kart licenses really don’t take you anywhere without other single seat racing. Winning a world champ is helpful but frankly I have never rated the winners of categories other than gearbox in terms of technical and information transfer although I suppose nowadays the intricacies of gear changing etc are no longer required.

      Thing is fixed gear karts teach you close race craft and aspects of that nature. Superb learning no doubt but…

      They teach you nothing about set up or transferring that to engineers but I guess they are well used to that.

  36. Robert says:

    Stupidest. Idea. Ever.

    F1 has now just said that it believes one of the 24 most qualified drivers on the planet is 17 years old.

    And somehow someone in the FIA thinks that it is a good idea to give “superlicenses” to children that cannot even drive legally on the roadways of their own countries.

    Who is going to take the heat for this when he kills himself, or someone else? Or have we all just come to assume that the carbon fibre crash tub of a modern F1 car is impervious to any sort of risk?

    Repeat: Stupidest. Idea. Ever.

    1. Mikael says:

      Exactly my point. Formula 1 is supposed to be the pinnacle of motorsport. I don’t care how good this kid is but you have to deserve your place in Formula 1 (or buy into it). Why do we have GP2, GP3 etc. We can take away those now and start recruiting kids directly from karting.
      As an spectator I don’t want to see a kid driving Formula 1 when he even doesn’t have an license. Look at Alonso, Hamilton, Raikkonen, Vettel, Ricciardo – they had all to fight to earn their place in Formula 1.
      red Bull is destroying this sport and it’s heritage. Bernie should do something about it. A rule to be at least 18 would solve it. This is the fucking Formula 1 for god sakes…

    2. r says:

      Or it could just be that there is nothing at all difficult about driving a F1 car. So easy in fact that any kid with a well known surname can do it.

    3. Phil R says:

      Yawn…exactly the same was said when Kimi, Seb and Jenson came into the sport and I seem to remember them doing quite well.

      At the same time, I think JB is on record as say mentally he was too young for F1 mentally in 2000, though the only real slightly dangerous error you could blame him for all year was at Monza under the safety car and that was under extreme bunching conditions.

      1. YouWho says:

        They were 20 not 17… Thats tremendous diff in development terms. If you dont understand the gravity of it you are still dreaming.. Sorry go back to sleep I didnt mean to wake you

  37. Stephen Taylor says:

    Did the decision of Red Bull to promote Max Verstappen to a 2015 Torro Rosso race seat surprise you Mr Allen?

    1. James Allen says:

      Yes. I think it’s a mistake.

      It may come out well, but the risks are high and I don’t see why not give him another season or two to mature, win Renault 3.5 over two seasons and then hit F1. It is all about timing – I understand that Vergne had reached the end of the allotted time at TR. But they could give Costa or Sainz a chance while Verstappen matures a bit.

      1. Stephen Taylor says:

        Will Verstappen do any Free practices in an F1 car this year as preparation for next year James?

      2. Bart says:

        In his second season, at the age of only 18, he’ll be under more pressure. A bit too early perhaps?

      3. Drgraham lewis says:

        It will be sad if the experiment ends his career before it starts.

        My worry would be trying to win a world championship with such an inexperienced person on the grid – without markings!

        I mean – look at Maldonado – and he had some experience…

      4. Jordan says:

        James do you think this is Red Bull reacting to the possibility of losing Vettel in the next year or two, and needing to find another superstar?

  38. kenneth chapman says:

    so many ifs and buts to consider. i would expect TR to give him his rookie year to settle in and then see how he stacks up but a good move anyway.

    i am also excited to see so many new young faces appearing in F1. time for some of the geriatrics to up stumps. JEV has had enough time to prove his worth and he now needs to move on. he could possibly get a drive in another team, say, replace sutil. that would be good start.

  39. Ray C Boy says:

    Initial reaction…WOW!.. Really? why, what’s the rush? Is he that good?

    Seems a bit premature, but what do I know.

    I hope JEV gets a drive next year, sad to think a guy of that calibre is finished in F1 by 24.

  40. Nator says:

    Congratulations Max, well done.
    He will handle the racing no problem. I’m worried about his mental strength around other drivers and being able to be “psyched out” by the other drivers etc. He’s only a teenager fighting against men.
    Although, I had the same fears when Kobe Bryant signed with LA, look at how he went.

  41. Kristiane Cyrus says:

    At this rate we are gonna have foetuses driving F1 and claiming the youngest records and titles within 20 years…

  42. BenM says:

    Like a lot of things in this world – It’s who you know and not what you know that gets you places. I just hope Jos hasn’t pushed his son to early.

    I hope Jos lives up to the hype. He’s going to be under intense scrutiny next year to justify his promotion to STR. He’s not going to have an easy opponent in Kyvat who’s got up to speed very quickly.

  43. SteveH says:

    This will end badly. I wrote a very long comment here but have deleted it; it wasn’t expressing what I was trying to convey. This is too soon. I hope I’m wrong.

  44. Multi 21 says:

    This is just terrible.

    Junior formula series have been created for a reason. Just like giving young road drivers a Learner’s Permit or a Provisional Licence.

    I know Jenson & Kimi were also young and inexperienced when they began their careers, but there is also a bit difference in maturity between 17 and 21 years of age.

    1. Michael says:

      Multi 21@ That is true. There is a difference in maturity between 17 and 21 years of age. The one who is 21 and act like a 17 year old, and the one who is 17 year old and look in behaviour like 21.
      People are different in many ways also in age behaviour. Am I the only one who thinks like this?

  45. ChrisL81 says:

    What happens if he gets on the podium.
    Its illegal in Australia to serve alcohol to someone under the age of 18 years.
    No Champagne for you Max.

    1. Matthew Cheshire says:

      Happened to Vettel in Bahrain didn’t it?

      In Australia he just needs his dad to ok it. You’d think he would.

      1. Jim says:

        They use rosewater in Bahrain anyway don’t they?

      2. kenneth chapman says:

        @ matthew cheshire……i somehow think that you’ve got this wrong. it is my understanding that if an adult [jos] supplies, or knowingly agrees to a supply of alcohol. then they are also breaking the law. the laws may differ from state to state.

    2. Michael says:

      I don’t think he want to the podium for the champagne, just for collecting his number one price.

  46. Ry says:

    The guy is simply too young. I think there should be a mandated minimum age of 20 so drivers can actually have a chance to live life, mature and grow as people before entering the psychotic world of F1. It’s not about skill, talent or education -it’s about life and having the opportunity to figure out and develop who you are as a person. I don’t think this is right.

    1. Stephen Taylor says:

      There shoukld be a rule that states that no driver should be below the age of 18 and drivers must have a full and official driving licence before they enter f1.

  47. Chuck3 says:

    WOW! Cudos to Redbull Racing; thinking of the future… Even if Vettel gets a winning car next year he’s only going to stay around for maybe 1-3 years! Then he’s going to Ferrari or one of the other Grandees.
    And when he’s gone, (Vettel), one of the two Toro Rosso boys moves up! As good as Kvyat has looked, so far this year; I predict Verstappen will all but destroy him! If you’re sixteen and have balls and bravado like what we’ve seen from him thus far, I think Kvyat will be the next Vergne, ie. gone… And considering his record, (Vergne) against Riccardo you have to feel sorry for him! But again, you have to respect and admire the choices made by der Helmut ob der Marko! I’m a Lewis fan so you know I’m emotionally all over the place, (ha-ha), but I’m betting on the kid, Verstappen) next year! PS: nice way to step up this year Rosberg!

    1. james says:

      Again, what record against Ricciardo?

      Generalisation. Can somebody actually post overall head to head qualifying and race finishes between JEV and Ricciardo. I was under the impression that Ricciardo was way ahead of JEV.

      I do hope JEV gets a seat though, he has done some amazing things and also had his fair share of bad luck.

  48. Johnny Canuck says:

    Can’t wait till the first time Verstappen refers to Kvyat as The Old Man ………

    Wonder if T.R. will bring Verstappen in to run a Friday or two before this season is out?

  49. Peter says:

    Anyone who has seen the F3 races this year would have seen the massive progression that Max Verstappen has made since the start of the season. In a very competitive field, and in an average team (have a good study of where his 2 team mates have been this year), he has shown extra ordinary things with the car that he has been given. He seems to have a maturity as a racer that he has learned over the years in karts (being bumped out of races) and also shown again last weekend when Fuoco several times slammed the door shut on him, which easily could have knocked off his front wing but he managed to avoid all that aggressive defending and then took a chance at the end and superbly overtook him a couple of laps before the finish line… finishing 3 after starting 12th in such a field of many talented racers is a great feat.. This is his first year in a racing car and he makes it look like he has been in that car for years… Why waste another year running at the top of a lower class when he just needs bigger challenges … and yes the Formula 1 is a massive challenge.. but looking at Max Verstappen his more than impressive resume and the ease of which he has been able to adapt to new cars and perform in them… he will certainly make more history and will be fantastic to watch in the Formula 1… he is an absolute super racing talent..

    1. Drgraham lewis says:

      I do not think anyone is denying that.

      But there is a vast difference in the cars and he cannot test.

      Plus regardless of his freakish maturity – 17 is quite simply much too young and puts others at risk.

      It also makes a mockery of all those that succeed in the lower formulas..

  50. OsellaMan says:

    Exciting news, no doubt about it. F1 is becoming more like Ender’s game every year. This couldn’t have even been imagined when I was that age (30 odd years ago), what will be next?

    The youngest men in F1 are being replace by even younger, let’s just hope that doesn’t quarantine some that only stay due to past success.

    On a lighter note, from this day forward he will be best known as Max Vergne-Shlappen.

  51. jmv says:

    Had he tested an F1 car already before this signing?

    i am really happy for his dad!

  52. Twist says:

    ;-)

    Time will tell!

  53. forzaminardi says:

    As others have said, If he’s good enough, he’s old enough. However, I do wonder if he’s such genuine hot property that Mercedes and others were sniffing around, he’d have not been better off going with an organisation with a little more patience. It seems to me that Red Bull have got the deal by offering a F1 seat immediately whereas Mercedes et al were maybe offering F1 sim time, young driver tests, maybe a couple of years in GP2 or DTM with no guarantees. Fair enough, may as well take the chance if it comes along but Red Bull don’t have the best record of standing by their man when things don’t go to plan – or even when they do. Red Bull patronage is a mixed blessing, with virtually zero chance of continuing in F1 even if the driver in question actually does fairly well – e.g. Alguesari.

  54. MR says:

    There is no doubt watching Max that he has an uncanny Senna like one-ness with the car under him. His car contriol and ability to fight it out on track is exceptional. One question though – if a 17year old can race and I mean race – not drive – an F1 car, how difficult can it be when everyone in the paddock plus the media would have us belive its so difficult. Perhaps F1 is not the pinnacle of motorsport anymore?

    1. Jim says:

      In your first sentence you praise MV and compare him to Senna (Ayrton, I assume ;-) and in your third sentence you question the difficulty of driving an F1 car “if a 17year old can race [one]“. I think that the point here is that MV is not just a random 17 (16 at the moment) year old, but one with “an uncanny Senna like one-ness with the car under him” and whose “car contriol and ability to fight it out on track is exceptional”.

      I haven’t followed MV’s career and so I also am worried that he won’t be mature enough for F1, but I hope I’m wrong and wish him the best.

  55. Matthew Cheshire says:

    I think the risk is too high to race a 16 year old. He may be no more likely to have an accident, but if he does his age will be questioned. How will he cope if he causes a major accident?

    A promotion too early could be damaging if he doesn’t perform. didn’t that happen to Grosgean?

    There seems to be no need for Red Bull to do this. They have too many drivers already. And they have him under contract.

  56. Olivier says:

    Is there a minimum age in F1?

    I mean, could we see a teenager of 16 on the grid? You’re allowed to drive on the road from age 16, right?

    What are the requirements to get a super license in F1?

    Let’s hope his career is not finished at the age of 19 …

    1. Jeremy J says:

      To your last point…

      forgetting about whether he’ll be ‘ready’ at that age, what happens if Kvyat heads off to Red Bull in say 2016, that would leave Ricciardo and Kvyat at the senior squad, perhaps sitting in those seats until 2020. If Toro Rosso continue their three year max trend there won’t be a seat at the big boys table after Verstappen’s three years. He could be on the shelf collecting dust after a three year career before his 20th birthday….

      1. kenneth chapman says:

        so what? without red bull where would he be?

  57. Jamie says:

    As long as he doesn’t drink the podium champagne :-)

    JEV was often quicker than Ricciardo, yet this could be the end of his F1 career. Kyvat has been really impressive, so makes sense to keep him.

    I guess Red Bull have lots of data for driver evaluation. Hopefully JEV will get a seat elsewhere.

    1. Random 79 says:

      First line, good point :)

    2. kenneth chapman says:

      if vergne is as good as a lot of his supporters think then he will be snapped up by another team. then again he may well go to another series where he may do better.

  58. Jordan says:

    Toro Rosso/Red Bull must have some confidence in Kyvat’s ability to develop a car – Max would still be learning how to setup an F3 now, so next year will be a massive learning curve for him. I wonder how this will impact the progress of the car over the course of 2015?

  59. Richard says:

    What a great news for (esp. Dutch) racing fans. Yes, I’m one of them
    To all those who question whether it’s too soon or max is too young: do you really believe that a big team Like RB/TR choose to throw some money away or put lifes on the line? Siging up the youngest rookie ever doesn’t give the team or company any added prestige. Results will. Presuming that Max will fail directly indicates that you hold very low esteem in the scouting and management skills of the best team in recent F1 history…

    1. Drgraham lewis says:

      No offence but they have done it before…

  60. Scott D says:

    Too young for F1, both mentally and physically, and not enough experience, no matter how “level headed” he may be. It’s one thing being quick enough, it’s another thing entirely to have the ability to adapt to specific high pressure situations. Makes a mockery of the feeder formulas. Let him learn his craft in a lower formula for at least another year and he will be an even better (and safer) driver.

  61. james encore says:

    If he isn’t 17 yet he’s too young to hold a road licence , at least in the UK. I thought you couldn’t get a competitions licence in the UK without a road licence so have the FIA given him a super-licence ?

    I don’t think there is any reason why a 17 year old can’t drive an F1 car to a decent standard. But if a driver hasn’t competed in a decent number of races before GP2 or similar I think there is a serious question mark about putting them on the F1 grid.
    There’s obviously pressure to get someone who might be the next big thing under contract, but if come Australia Max finds himself well up the grid are the drivers round him going to be slightly nervous of what someone with one season of F3 experience might do at the first corner ? I’d argue for a minimum number of races in specific formulae before issuing a super licence, and that probably would rule out 17 year olds.

    1. Aaron says:

      No, you can compete (in the UK anyway) as soon as you are 14, which is the minimum age to obtain an MSA competition licence for cars.

    2. james encore says:

      Oh and one other thing, if he gets on the podium, in several places they won’t be able to present him with the champagne because of his age.

    3. Drgraham lewis says:

      Agreed – the hilarious thing is he cannot legally race a Super kart on a long circuit anywhere in the world as he is too young and has no licence – he can enter at the back with crosses on his number plates denoting he is a rookie but has to be 17 and hold a valid driving licence

      Explain that?

      1. kenneth chapman says:

        obviously the super cart rules are clearly outdated.

  62. Paul Mc says:

    I bet Jenson Button is feeling like a grandad right now…good luck to him and I hope he proves the doubters wrong. 17 or 47, if you’re fast enough you deserve a shot.

  63. Steve says:

    F1 drivers are starting to look like X-Factor hopefuls!! We hear all the razzamatazz “Most gifted ever – very mature for age – currently in third in ‘whatever’ race category” then 2 seasons later they’re out to make way for the next ‘Big New Kid on the block’……WINNING GP2 or 3 should be a prerequisite to F1 otherwise just like our X-Factor winners, 2 years later we’ve all forgotten their names.

    1. Random 79 says:

      I’m pretty sure I still remember Ricciardo…

  64. Graham says:

    Very concerned about this. Where will it ever end? At 17, you are still officially a child. Regardless of how mature this 17 year old is, he’s too young. You should have to work to get to F1. Otherwise we’ll have a load of spoilt brats like in football.

    I note he’s signed for Toro Rosso. He’ll be on the scrapheap by the time he’s 20.

  65. Bob says:

    If he’s good enough now, then he will still be good enough when he’s 21…

    1. kenneth chapman says:

      no bob, he’ll be even better having had three years of F1 under his belt.

  66. David B says:

    Talent over common sense. Some people close to him and his team may have some tough questions to answer for themselves if it all goes wrong and a promising career is wrecked by chasing the dream too early. 17 and fast driver – yes. 17 and able to recognise, accept and manage the pressures of the F1 world – tough ask for anyone, let alone someone of school age.

  67. Sujith says:

    Good going RedBull. If this kid can give the big boys a good run for their money, we are looking at a bright future for Redbull Racing.

  68. YouWho says:

    This is really silly decison on so many levels its not funny. I dont care if the kid is brilliant in GP3 – its not F1. In physical,mental, and emotional terms 17 is a big step off 18 and its another step to 20 or 21. Yes we are seeing Kvyat doing a tremendous job at 19 but like I said that is quite a big step.

    Most importantly Sainz who proved himself at last years young driver test -at least on par with Kvyat is missing out !! I’m hearing Marko is trying to get him a drive with Marussia . It must be money and big names coming together. Like many have said whats the hurry – at least give the guy time to climatise to F1 with reserve driver/ Friday practise sessions. Im really amazed at this- sure he could be the next big thing but like many have said he could be gone because hes not ready and in F1 there is too much risk/ committment riding to change drivers if things fail.

  69. Tim B says:

    Interesting move. On the age/pressure thing, there are other sports where teenagers compete at the highest levels – swimming, for one, and tennis for another. Not the same as motorsport for sure, but the external pressures are similar.

    The experience level is what’s surprising. He’s not got that much single seater seat time, which suggests that his kart experience translates very well, even down to tyre management and such.

    I think Red Bull can stop pretending that they’re running a driver development programme, though – what they’re doing is a driver *search*. They’ll develop them if they have to, but they’d clearly rather get one who is (at least partly) ready made.

  70. kenneth chapman says:

    @ james…completely OT. you were going to look into the non notification in the email ‘inbox’ for me some time back! it was there for about two weeks then it disappeared. any news there about whether or not it will be reinstated?

    1. James Allen says:

      Not aware of any changes in last few weeks.

      1. kenneth chapman says:

        thanks for the reply james. i’m still not getting any responses posted in to my inbox. maybe a quick check for me would be much appreciated. am i the only one though? are all other posters regularly getting notifications? would appreciate it if some could respond…thanks.

      2. James Allen says:

        Only one other. We are still seeing the email notifications.

        Will look into it

      3. kenneth chapman says:

        thanks again james, good of you to bother, cheers. by the way, i heard today that mark webber will be replacing AJ as support commentator to rusty next year. that is great news as he has just so much background to enlarge upon race by race. looking forward to it. AJ although a decent enough chap is just past it and adds little to the program.

  71. Hyper Chicaine Technique says:

    This is a slap in Carlos Sainz Jr’s face, if you ask me. He’s dominating the Renault 3.5 series this year and has shown in YDT that he has the pace to hang with the F1 field.
    Verstappen seems to have a lot of potential but thats all it really is right now. Potential. Lots of young, racy drivers with potential have come and gone in F1 that started when they were much older and more mature. There must be some underlying agenda here. Its gotta be the kid’s last name and the potential sponsorship money that has leapfrogged him to the top rung.

    1. kenneth chapman says:

      if carlos sainz is that good then i am sure another top team will snap him up quicksmart.

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