Max Verstappen says he should be judged on his speed when he makes his debut in Formula 1 next season, not his age, which will be just 17, a record for the sport.
Verstappen, who is currently racing in the Formula 3 European Championship, his first year of car racing, was confirmed as Daniil Kvyat’s team-mate at Toro Rosso for 2015 earlier this week, a move that has caused some shock, given his age, with the Dutchman currently only 16-years-old.
Despite his young age, Verstappen is adamant that he is ready for Formula 1, and maintains that he can only prove that to his doubters on track next season.
“I have always made big steps,” explained Verstappen. “From karting to Formula 3 was obviously a big step. I think I’m ready for it. At the end of it age is just a number. It is on the track where you have to show it.
“Driving wise [stepping up to F1] it shouldn’t be a problem,” he added. “I think more so everything around it. At the end what is the most important is being fast on the track.”
The youngster also dismissed any fears over Toro Rosso’s tendency to drop drivers, as it has done in the past with Jaime Alguersuari and Sebastian Buemi, as well as Jean-Eric Vergne, the man Verstappen is replacing at the team.
“Not at all,” he said. “I’m not even thinking about that. Just look at Daniel [Ricciardo], he was really fast and he got a chance at Red Bull. I just need to do my best and be fast and the normally it shouldn’t be a problem.”
Pressed for a response to comments made by former world champion Jacques Villeneuve, who questioned whether Verstappen should be driving in Formula 1 at his age, the youngster delivered a short sharp response of: ”We will see next year.”
Image courtesy of Red Bull Media