NOT TOO MUCH, NOT TOO YOUNG
There were critics who claimed 17-year-old Max Verstappen wasn’t ready for F1. But the Toro Rosso racer is rapidly proving them wrong with a string of impressive drives
He was barely 17 when he rst slid his feet into a Formula 1 cockpit, testing a Toro Rosso in practice for the 2014 Japanese Grand Prix. He’s still 17 now. And yet – bar the odd slip here and there – Max Verstappen has confounded those pundits who thought he’d been given too much, too young, and would burn out as a result.
Toro Rosso team principal Franz Tost denounced those doubters as “idiots” earlier this year. Now, in conversation with F1 Racing, he’s more diplomatic.
“I was 100 per cent convinced that he was ready and mature enough to take this challenge, and I said so last year,” says Tost, phrasing his point delicately and with a wry smile. “I’m happy that he now also convinces some people who were totally against this.”
We’re talking between sessions in Monaco, so Max has yet to have his late-race contretemps with Romain Grosjean. For now, he’s the talk of the town in a good way. Having never driven on the circuit for real before – he arrived in F1 via European Formula 3, which doesn’t race at Monte Carlo – and with just a day’s preparatory work on the simulator, he’s nished in the top ten in both opening practice sessions: