“I wanted Max in our car”- Franz Tost on how Max Verstappen impressed him in an F3 race and made him convince management to promote him.
Max Verstappen in 2014 became the youngest driver to debut in Formula 1 at the age of 17, the Dutch driver lived up to the hype and is expected to rule the sport once Lewis Hamilton leaves the scene.
Before being the doyen at Red Bull, he had a brief stint at Toro Rosso (now Alpha Tauri), and Franz Tost revealed how he wanted him in his car after that impressive F3 performance.
“I still remember it well,” he told Dutch magazine Formule 1. “Wet track, it was raining. As you know, a lap on the Norisring is short: it takes less than a minute. Still, Max was one or two seconds faster than the rest.
“Helmut [Marko] and I are of course always in contact about these kinds of matters, we discuss extensively the performance of young drivers. It was clear to me then that I wanted Max in our car, as a driver and not as a test driver.”
“Too young? Not for Max Verstappen”- Franz Tost
When Verstappen joined Toro Rosso, many experts as per Tost claimed that he was too young to make his debut at this tender age, while the nominal age to debut in the highest format is usually 21-23.
“Many ‘experts’ said it was way too soon. To which I said: but not for Max Verstappen,” the AlphaTauri team principal added. “Because he is not a passenger in the car, as you often see with newcomers, but he drives the car.
“How he had the car under control, he controlled it completely… extraordinary,” he concluded. Verstappen, not having the experience of F2, made mistakes in his initial days, but soon developed to be a star of today, while Red Bull always believed that he will be their future.