Max Verstappen to become youngest F1 driver at 17 next year

© F1 Pulse, 18 August 2014
© Red Bull/Twitter

Max Verstappen is set to become the youngest ever driver in Formula One after Toro Rosso announced that the 16-year-old Dutchman will join the team next season.

Verstappen, the son of former F1 driver Jos who raced in 106 Grands Prix, will be only 17 at the start of next season when he partners Daniil Kvyat at Red Bull’s sister team.

“Ever since I was seven years old, Formula One has been my career goal, so this opportunity is truly a dream come true,” said Verstappen, who joined the Red Bull Junior Team earlier this month.

The announcement will likely end the F1 career of Jean-Eric Vergne, who has been with Toro Rosso since 2012. The Frenchman raced in his 50th Grand Prix in Hungary last month.

Verstappen is currently racing in the European Formula 3 championship in what is his maiden season in single-seater racing. He has won eight of the 25 races so far, including six in a row and is a contender to claim the title.

The teenager was only racing karts last year.

His father Jos last raced in F1 in 2003 with Minardi, which is incidentally now called Toro Rosso after Red Bull bought the Faenza-based outfit.

Jos Verstappen drinks water as BAR's Jenson Button, Ferrari's Rubens Barrichello and Williams' Juan Pablo Montoya attend the 2003 Malaysian GP press conference. © AP Photo/Andy Wong

Three drivers on the current grid - Fernando Alonso, Jenson Button and Kimi Raikkonen - have raced against Max's father, Jos, in Formula One.

"We consider Max to be 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," Toro Rosso team principal Franz Tost said.

"This year he has already demonstrated how well he can cope under difficult conditions. ... Bearing in mind that Toro Rosso was created with the aim of bringing young talent from the Red Bull Junior Team into F1 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 F1 career."

Here are F1's youngest drivers list so far:

No. Driver Team Age Grand Prix
1 Jaime Alguersuari Toro Rosso 19 years, 125 days 2009 Hungary
2 Mike Thackwell Tyrrell 19 years, 182 days 1980 Canada
3 Ricardo Rodriguez Ferrari 19 years, 208 days 1961 Italy
4 Fernando Alonso Minardi 19 years, 218 days 2001 Australia
5 Esteban Tuero Minardi 19 years, 320 days 1998 Australia
6 Chris Amon Lola 19 years, 324 days 1963 Belgium
7 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso 19 years, 324 days 2014 Australia
8 Sebastian Vettel BMW Sauber 19 years, 349 days 2007 United States
9 Eddie Cheever Hesketh 20 years, 53 days 1978 South Africa
10 Jenson Button Williams 20 years, 53 days 2000 Australia
 

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