The Dutch teenager will be­come F1’s youngest ever racer when he joins the grid in 2015 – at Jean-Eric Vergne’s ex­pense

F1 Racing - - INSIDER -

Red Bull have quite a track record when it comes to mak­ing con­tro­ver­sial de­ci­sions about bring­ing new tal­ent into For­mula 1. But they have made their most sur­pris­ing move yet with the pro­mo­tion of 16-year-old Max Ver­stap­pen to a Toro Rosso seat for 2015.

The son of ex-F1 driver Jos Ver­stap­pen will have just one sea­son of car rac­ing be­hind him when he ar­rives in Aus­tralia for the rst race of next sea­son. He will be­come the youngest F1 driver in his­tory, break­ing the record set by for­mer Toro Rosso driver Jaime Alguer­suari by more than two-and-a-half years.

The decision comes hot on the heels of the grad­u­a­tion of Rus­sian Daniil Kvyat from GP3 to F1 this sea­son. Ver­stap­pen and Kvyat will be team-mates, and Jean-Eric Vergne will be dropped after three sea­sons at Toro Rosso.

Ques­tions were raised about Kvyat’s age when he joined Toro Rosso aged 19 last year. But the risk the team are tak­ing with Ver­stap­pen is on another level al­to­gether. Kvyat had four years of rac­ing ex­pe­ri­ence be­fore mov­ing to F1. And Alguer­suari’s fate – dumped with no no­tice after two-and-a -half largely im­pres­sive sea­sons – un­der­lines the risk. But Ver­stap­pen says he has no con­cerns.

“I’m a re­laxed guy; I can han­dle it,” he told the BBC. “The big­gest step I made was kart­ing to F3. This will be a smaller step. I’m not that wor­ried about it. The cars are re­ally safe. It’s more dan­ger­ous to bike through a big city.”

“It is a huge step but I think if any­one can do it, it’s Max,” said Frits van Amers­foort, Ver­stap­pen’s F3 team boss.

“I’ve never seen a kid that age so calm and re­laxed. He has in­cred­i­ble feel­ing with the car.”

Ver­stap­pen sat­is­fies the con­di­tions of an F1 su­per­li­cence through be­ing a racewin­ner and ti­tle con­tender in this year’s F3 Euroseries.

JEV (be­low) will be dropped by Toro Rosso for 2015 in favour of Ver­stap­pen (bot­tom)

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