Just days after being signed to Red Bull’s young driver programme, the drinks giant has announced that Max Verstappen will make his Formula 1 debut for Scuderia Toro Rosso next year. At 17 years of age next year, the Formula 3 frontrunner will become the sport’s youngest ever driver when he makes his Grand Prix debut.
The Dutch racer – son of ex-Grand Prix podium finisher Jos Verstappen – will race alongside Daniil Kvyat in the Faenza team’s line-up.
That means Jean-Éric Vergne’s time with the team will come to an end after a three-year stint, consigning him to the scrapheap of many other Red Bull programme drivers who have failed to achieve the brand’s expectations.
Like his father, young Max was a karting ace before graduating straight into the FIA European Formula 3 Championship. He currently sits second overall in the Drivers’ Championship standings with eight wins to his credit, and was signed up to Red Bull’s driving programme just last week.
“First of all, 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 Toro Rosso,” Verstappen said of his appointment.
“Ever since I was seven years old, Formula 1 has been my career goal, so this opportunity is truly a dream come true.
“With the return of the Verstappen name to Formula 1, I hope we can relive old memories and I’m hoping to see many fans at all the Grand Prix circuits.”
“We are happy to welcome Max into the Toro Rosso family,” Toro Rosso team principal Franz Tost added. “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.
“This year he has already demonstrated how well he can cope under difficult conditions. Bearing in mind that Toro Rosso was created with the aim of bringing young talent from the Red Bull Junior Team into Formula 1 and to educate them, it will now be up to us to provide Max with a competitive car, which will enable him to have the best possible start to his Formula 1 career.”
Tost also took the time to thank outgoing driver Jean-Éric Vergne.
“With this in mind, I would also like to thank Jean-Eric Vergne for all his hard work,” he added.
“He has produced strong performances, but unfortunately he was also hindered by some reliability problems, especially in the first half of the current season. We hope that we have resolved these problems and that he will be able to end the second half of this season on a high note and thereby show that he still deserves another opportunity in Formula 1.”
Image via Red Bull