Red Bull motor sport boss Helmut Marko has put a little extra pressure on his new protege Max Verstappen by comparing the Dutch youngster with Ayrton Senna.
Verstappen, who only turns 17 next week, is being groomed for some FP1 appearances with Toro Rosso, prior to racing with the team next season.
Speaking to the F1 website Marko called Verstappen “an exceptional talent that come along only once in decades.”
Asked to make a comparison, he said: “Most likely Ayrton Senna. And in such a case you must not look at his age. He has been talking with people who are experts when it comes to the development of youngsters and they all say that [in terms of] his mind he is more like 22 than 16. And regarding his skills behind the steering wheel, he has been racing since he was four years old – professionally. So we expect him to be competitive from the first race. We are not playing the lottery, we know what we are doing. And success proves us right.
“And yes, we work with him intensively. He will do some Friday runs. Not long ago he did a 400kms test in Italy, he’s in the simulator whenever possible, and he’s working on his physique and psychology with top experts. Yes, some things became visible that we will have to address for the 2015 season. Having said that, he is getting the perfect ‘schooling’ before he gets on the grid.”