Formula 1

Max Verstappen set to break F1 record at Japanese Grand Prix

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16-year-old Max Verstappen is set to make history when he becomes the youngest driver ever to take part in a grand prix weekend. 

He will be taking part in the first practice of the Japanese Grand Prix, representing the Toro Rosso team whom he will be driving for permanently in 2015.


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The Dutchman turns 17 tomorrow so he isn't even of legal age to drive a car on the road, making the whole situation all the more remarkable.

He will be driving Jean-Eric Vergne's car in preparation for next season when he replaces the Frenchman.

"To be already participating in a practice session is a dream come true," Verstappen told BBC Sport.

"It will be a very valuable experience, spending some time in the car and also getting used to working with everyone in the team, to prepare myself for next year.

"I am not going there to break any records, I just want to gain experience."


The youngster could not have asked for a harder track to start racing on, with Suzuka regarded as one of the world's toughest; Lewis Hamilton retired from last year's race after seven laps with collision damage.

Verstappen's father, Jos is a former F1 driver himself and told his son of the precautions he must take when driving around the course. 

Max Verstappen added: "I have spent one day driving this track on the simulator, which helps a bit, but it's no substitute for driving it for real.

"My first impression is that it's not an easy track and for example it looks hard to get the combination right in the first Esses.

"I have one and a half hours to drive there and I'm looking forward to doing a good job, for myself and for the team."


Despite having less than a year's car racing experience, Red Bull, who use Toro Rosso as their 'feeder team' promoted him because he is a "once in a generation talent."

He has already been compared to the legendary Ayrton Senna by Red Bull's motorsport adviser, Helmut Marko in an interview last week.

It's a massive name to try to live up to, but he has many years to become a legend of the sport. 

It will be intriguing to discover how well he copes on the Suzuka track, but he couldn't have asked for better preparation for next year's F1 season.

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