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SBD Global/August 20, 2014/Franchises

Dutch Driver Max Verstappen, 16, To Become Youngest Driver In Formula One History

Max Verstappen, a 16-year-old driver from the Netherlands, "will become the youngest driver in Formula One history when he replaces Jean-Éric Vergne at Toro Rosso" next season, according to Teddy Cutler of the LONDON TIMES. Verstappen "only graduated from kart racing this year." He will be 17 "when he lines up for the first race" of the '15 season -- "the minimum driving age in the Netherlands is 18." His "lightning-fast ascent from the world of junior racing will see him shatter the previous record for the youngest F1 driver, held by Jaime Alguersuari at 19 years and 125 days." Verstappen said, "Ever since I was 7 years old, Formula 1 has been my career goal, so this opportunity is truly a dream come true" (LONDON TIMES, 8/19). The London TELEGRAPH reported Toro Rosso Team Principal Franz Tost described Verstappen as "one of the most skilled young drivers of the new generation." Tost: "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" (TELEGRAPH, 8/19). FOX SPORTS' William Dale wrote "Is 17 too young to race a Formula 1 Car?" -- this is the question that "everyone has been asking." What "must be remembered is that unlike learner drivers, many of whom have their first experience of controlling a car after they have earned their licence, most young karters have been racing for almost a decade" before they step into bigger machinery. Verstappen started karting at age seven, "logging hundreds upon hundreds of races and notching up many wins and titles and titles along the way" (FOX SPORTS, 8/19).
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