Max Verstappen confirmed for Toro Rosso seat in 2015

Red Bull has confirmed that Max Verstappen will drive for Scuderia Toro Rosso in 2015.

He will partner Daniil Kvyat, which means that Jean-Eric Vergne will be out of a job.

Verstappen’s father Jos raced in F1 from 1994 to 2003, competing in 106 GPs. His mother Sophie Kumpen was a karting star in her own right.

The Belgian-born Dutchman, who turns 17 on September 30, was signed as Red Bull junior driver only last week, having turned down overtures from Mercedes. He is currently lying second in the European F3 series in his first season in car racing.

He said: “Ever since I was seven years old, Formula 1 has been my career goal, so this opportunity is truly a dream come true.”

Team boss Franz Tost said: “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. For example, at the Norisring and Nürburgring, he showed extraordinary determination and the ability to withstand pressure before going on to win. Bearing in mind that Scuderia 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.

“With this in mind, I would also like to thank Jean-Eric Vergne for all his hard work. 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.”

9 Comments

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9 responses to “Max Verstappen confirmed for Toro Rosso seat in 2015

  1. Peterg

    RedBull amaze me, here is a guy who is only 17 and with only one season of F3 on his resume. His karting record suggests he is a real talent, so why throw him in the deep end to literally learn on the job. Why the rush?

    Even if he were to win the F3 championship this year a stint in GP2 would hone his skills.

    The light in F1 shines very brightly on the stage, his career could be over before it’s even started.

  2. Tony Dowe

    Unfortunatly, like his dad, if a F1 drive is dangled in front of you it takes a very determined person to say “No” Think back to Jan Magnussen, if he had turned down Jackie Stewert he may have made it, but he owed people that had supported him and needed to repay them, so he took what was offered.
    How do you turn down a factory Ford deal, you know it wont be good to start, but you gamble on it working in the long run.
    This is F1, so all Red Bull is doing is weeding out the weak that wont make it.

    • anon

      On the other hand, Alain Prost did refuse an offer from McLaren to rush him into F1 in 1979 precisely because he thought that being rushed in too early would damage his career (and you’d hardly call him a weak driver).

  3. Peterg

    I will respectfully disagree with you Tony. Red Bull’s driver development program has a history of spending money, on young drives in the lower series, like no other. The list is as long as your arm, they have put drivers through multiple seasons in preparation for an F1 career……and then dropped them!

    My point is, if Helmut Marko sees potential in this undoubted karting talent, give him a couple of seasons to learn the craft. If the money is there (and it clearly is if they are putting him in STR) spend it on some experience.

    Hamilton was fortunate enough to have a well-funded junior career. F.Renault x 2, F3 x 2, GPT x 1 seasons. This reminds me of when they pushed Christian Klein into Jaguar before he was ready.I wish the kid well, but I’m amazed his father, who knows the business, has not negotiated a few some lower category experience.

  4. GeorgeK

    This surprises me not at all. They struck gold with Kvyat, why not again with young Verstappen???

  5. I think we all now know why Verstappen signed up for the Red Bull program in lieu of Mercedes…

    I don’t understand this decision at all – there’s more to being an exceptional F1 driver than just driving quickly. Another season or two at the junior categories + Fridays/testing in F1 would have been far better preparation. How many extremely promising careers have we seen been snuffed out because it was the right guy at the wrong time (e.g. Alguersuari)?

    There’s minimal risk for RB as there’s no shortage of “future stars” in the lower ranks, the risk is all on Verstappen’s shoulders, a kid that isn’t old enough to drive on the roads at home.

  6. Adam

    This is great news, wish Vers best of luck. For me I’m sick of seeing all these reserve drivers that never get a proper start. Year after year in FP1, aero tests etc., burning off their careers. Vers is going in proper wet, best way I suppose rather then beating around the bush.

  7. Steve C

    No Texting while driving, Max…

  8. Wilfred V

    To me, stepping in a F1 car in his 2nd year in autosport is quick. Very quick! But so is stepping in an F3 car straight out of karting and look how Max is performing there.
    RedBull have the best driver development program, have a lot of experience in spotting talent en coaching talent through their careers. Not all of those talents make it into F1 (Toro Rosso) and not all TR drivers make it into the RedBull racing team. And if you’re not good enough for RB racing, your not good enough as well for the other top teams Ferrari, McLaren, Mercedes.
    Perhaps we should just trust Red Bulls judgement.

    And now, from Verstappens view point: There are risks in long steady paths to F1 as well. Racing is a complex sport. Prime teams in feeder series can have an off year (financially / key people leaving etc.), the big talent ending up at an averagely performing team. As a driver you can not control all factors and someone else could compromise your brilliant future.
    Or you can end up winning in GP2 or FR3.5 and still not promote to F1 because of uncertainty about the quality of the competition that year.
    Or because RedBull does not yet want to get rid of one or both of their TR drivers.
    Felix Antonio Da Costa has been the big promise in the Red Bull program, winning races when he stepped into FR3.5 in the second half of 2012. The results in 2013 where not that convincing and Antonio is now at a career side track (DTM) after RB decided to bring Kvyat to F1. Up until a few days ago Carlos Sainz jr. was the next in line. Sainz replacing Vergne was practically a certainty. If he’s very lucky RedBull places him at Caterham (giving that team free gearboxes). If Carlos is lucky he’ll stay an extra year in FR3.5 or does a year in GP2. But should RedBull make that investment now that they have Verstappen and Kvyat in the TR seats for the next 2 or 3 years?
    When Red Bull has faith in Verstappens abilities and the Verstappen team think he can do the job, they should take the offer.

    The only problem with being part of the RedBull program is that RB funds your career(…). Most drivers don’t have personal sponsors that can secure a decent drive in F1’s sub top teams in case the RedBull career ends after 3 years of Toro Rosso.

    A lot of people think that Pay drivers are a disgrace to the sport. Men like Ericsson, Chilton, Gutierrez occupying seats that should have gone to proven talents like for example Robin Frijns. The next wave of paydrivers is already knocking on the door. Drivers that are interesting to their sponsors thanks to their nationality, gender or daddy’s many connections in British motor racing industry.
    And now RedBull brings a real talent. He’s a bit young and inexperienced, but undoubtedly a great talent. Let’s watch how (not if) this young man develops himself into a race winner.

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