Formula 1 could have another second-generation racing driver on the grid in the next few years, following news that Red Bull has signed Max Verstappen – son of Jos Verstappen – onto its driver development scheme.
The 16-year-old, like his father, has rocketed through the karting ranks and is competing in his first season of open-wheel racing in the FIA European Formula 3 Championship. He current sits in second place in the Drivers’ Championship standings with seven victories – six of which came in a row – to his credit.
Verstappen joins Frenchman Pierre Gasly, Spain’s Carlos Sainz Jr. and Britain’s Alex Lynn in Red Bull’s driver development programme.
“We are very pleased to announce that Max Verstappen has accepted our invitation to join the Red Bull Junior Team,” Red Bull said in a media release, confirming that the Dutch youngster will compete in Red Bull colours at the upcoming F1 round at the Nürburgring. He will also drive at the Macau Grand Prix later in the year.
The announcement is perhaps no great surprise. Max and his father Jos were spotted at last month’s German Grand Prix at the Hockenheimring, where the pair garnered much media interest.
“It speaks for itself that I’m very happy and honoured to be a part of the Red Bull Junior Team, which has already brought so many drivers to Formula 1,” Verstappen added in a post on his own website.
Max’s father Jos enjoyed a 106-race Formula 1 career between 1994-2003, racing for the likes of Benetton, Simtek, Footwork, Tyrrell, Stewart, Arrows and Minardi teams. He claimed two podium finishes, both coming in his maiden F1 season where he served as a substitute for the injured JJ Lehto.
Image via XPB Images