It’s that time of year in Formula 1 where 2015’s driver line up begins to take shape, drivers are securing their seat for the next season and teams are signing new talent left, rig
It’s that time of year in Formula 1 where 2015’s driver line up begins to take shape, drivers are securing their seat for the next season and teams are signing new talent left, right and center.
On Monday through Twitter and various online media, Toro Rosso announced that Jean-Eric Vergne would no longer be driving for the team after 2014. Instead young rookie Max Verstappen, also from Red Bull’s junior program, will be taking his place to become the youngest driver to ever race in Formula 1.
With Sebastian Vettel a four-time world champion, Daniel Ricciardo being the only non-Mercedes driver to win a race this season and Daniil Kvyat proving himself a fierce competitor, Red Bull have a skil for finding talented drivers.
The 16 year old driver from Holland graduated from karts only last year and has spent 2014 proving himself in Formula 3. For a driver to transition so quickly and work his way up the ranks after such a short time, it begs the question: What is so special about Max Verstappen?
“Ever since I was seven years old, Formula 1 has been my career goal, so this opportunity is truly a dream come true,” he explained. And it’s no revelation that young Verstappen would be interested in Formula 1 when his Father, a former F1 driver, made his debut along Michael Schumacher.
His father Jos Verstappen raced between 1994 and 2003, and was clearly a strong influence on his son.
“I think it’ll be very good for Holland to have a new Dutch F1 driver,” said Max. “And also the second Verstappen name. It’ll be really cool.”
Vergne Out In The Cold
Despite the anticipation for the new driver, fans can’t help but wonder what will happen to Jean-Eric Vergne now he has been left without a seat for 2015. Especially considering that his low scores this year have been mostly down to the unreliability of his car.
“He has produced strong performances, but unfortunately he was also hindered by some reliability problems, especially in the first half of the current season,” stated Franz Tost, Team Principal at Toro Rosso.
Last year Vergne was fighting alongside former teammate Daniel Ricciardo for a spot in Mark Webber’s seat with Championship winning team Red Bull. Yet this year he is left without a drive after an impressive performance a few weeks ago in Hungary, where he led the race for several laps.
Despite his future not currently secure in Formula 1, the 24 year old took to twitter to assure us he is confident that he will still be able to race in the future.
Toro Rosso is a good school. I learnt a lot. Now focussed on a great end of season. I’m already working for 2015. Still a lot to show in F1
— Jean-Eric Vergne (@JeanEricVergne) August 19, 2014
What does 2015 hold?
Verstappen has been producing consistent results in formula 3 for the most part this year, but only time will tell if he can replicate this consistency to formula 1 and prove himself equally as gifted as his predecessors.
“I think you have to be consistent, for sure you have to be fast, try to finish and try to make as few mistakes as possible,” he told Sky Sports when asked about his tactics for next year.
Displaying a calm collected attitude to the opportunity he’s been provided with, the young driver appears confident in his ability.
With an altered driver line up and determination pouring from the team, next years season has the potential to be the Toro Rosso’s most successful yet.
However, success is only a possibility if the team can iron out the technical problems that have plagued them for the entirety of 2014. If not, next year may be just as disappointing.
What do you think? Will 2015 be Toro Rosso’s year? Will Vergne get a seat for next season? Have your say in the comments section below.