Belfast Telegraph

Max sure teen spirit will make him F1 success

By Ian Parkes

Max Verstappen is confident he can handle the pressures of the world of Formula One and insists he is not worried about the sport's dangers.

The 16-year-old is set to become the youngest driver in F1 history after joining Toro Rosso for the 2015 campaign.

Verstappen – 17 next month and currently competing in Formula Three – will replace Frenchman Jean-Eric Vergne at the Red Bull-owned team.

Regarding the media attention he is getting and will receive in the future, the Dutch youngster, son of ex-F1 driver Jos Verstappen, said: "I am a relaxed guy, so I think I will handle it.

"I hope to offer a lot of action (on the track) of course.

"But I think, in the end, I am quite relaxed. For sure you have to work hard, but at the same time you can also have a little fun."

When then asked about the dangers of the sport, Verstappen said: "I'm not that worried about it. The cars are really safe.

"I think it's more dangerous to cycle through a big city than to race in an F1 car."

He added: "It is really exciting. It was always my dream since I was seven years old. In the beginning I couldn't believe it.

"The biggest step I had already was from karting to F3, and I think from F3 to F1 will be a smaller step.

"Of course (the physical pressure of F1 racing) is something we will have to work on, but for sure, at Red Bull, we will work it out.

"I think you have to be yourself all the time, and that is the most important thing.

"Only then, I think, you will succeed."

Toro Rosso team principal Franz Tost has stressed his belief that Verstappen has the "mental strength" to cope with life in F1 and described the former karting world champion as "one of the most skilled young drivers of the new generation".

Meanwhile, former McLaren assistant team manager Tony Jardine, who also worked with Brabham and Lotus, feels the news about Verstappen will not be greeted warmly by some of the drivers who will be lining up on the grid with him next year.

Jardine said: "What the senior drivers will think about it – they won't like it.

"In the Netherlands, where he comes from, the age is 18 to get your driving licence, so it is going to be a huge story. But the point is, he has been racing since he was a little boy, like Lewis Hamilton.

Jos Verstappen is sure his son is in good hands.

He said: "I have tried to help him as good as I could, but now he is in a very professional environment – they know exactly how to treat young drivers."

Belfast Telegraph

How to Complain

If you have a complaint about the editorial content of the Belfast Telegraph or Sunday Life then contact the Editor here. If you are not satisfied with the response provided then you can contact the Independent Press Standards Organisation here

Popular

From Belfast Telegraph