Toro Rosso’s 2015 signing Max Verstappen has made an impressive and history making Formula One debut.
In driving in FP1 at the Japanese Grand Prix he became the youngest driver in F1 history to take part in a Formula One race weekend aged just 17. Toro Rosso announced Verstappen as part of their 2015 line-up back in August and at the time Team Principal Franz Tost described him as being “one of the most skilled young drivers of the new generation”. He certainly impressed on his debut, setting the 12th best time of FP1 and finishing just 0.443 seconds down on Toro Rosso team-mate Daniil Kvyat. His session was ruined by a mechanical issue but Verstappen was impressed by the running he did get with the car.
“Today for me it was all about getting experience in the car, especially on a difficult track like Suzuka,” he revealed post-practice. “I was impressed with the engine power. The car is bigger compared to the one I’m used to in Formula 3 and there are a lot more things to think about while you’re driving, so I had to use some laps to get confident with such a different car.”
Verstappen took no risks on his way to setting the 12th best time of the session. “I drove within my limits for all the session, doing as much mileage as possible,” he said. “I have to thank Red Bull and Scuderia Toro Rosso for giving me the possibility to be in th ecar already this year on Fridays and get well prepared for next year. I find myself very comfortable in the team and I like my working group.”
He is expected to get back in the car for further FP1 running in Austin, Sao Paulo, and Abu Dhabi as the season wraps up. “Now that I know what it means to drive a Formula 1 car, I’m looking forward to it even more!”