1 Oct 2014

Verstappen set for Suzuka drive

11:30 am on 1 October 2014

Max Verstappen will become the youngest driver to take part in a Formula One weekend when he drives a Toro Rosso in Friday practice at the Japanese Grand Prix this weekend only three days after his 17th birthday.

The current record is held by Germany's quadruple world champion Sebastian Vettel, who took part in free practice for BMW Sauber in Turkey in 2006 at the age of 19 years and 53 days.

Dutch motor racing driver Max Verstappen who has earned a Formula One deal for next season.

Dutch motor racing driver Max Verstappen who has earned a Formula One deal for next season. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Toro Rosso says the Dutch youngster has been granted the mandatory superlicence by the governing FIA after completing 300 kilometres in his first test in a Formula One car in Italy earlier in September.

Verstappen, son of former F1 racer Jos, will drive the car of Frenchman Jean-Eric Vergne in the first practice session at Suzuka ahead of Sunday's grand prix.

Verstappen says it's good preparation for next year, even if it's not something he could have imagined a few months ago, and to already be participating in a practice session is a dream come true.

He has already signed to replace Vergne in the team's race line-up next season.

The teenager has been to Suzuka before, to take part in a go-kart race on the track next to the demanding figure-of-eight circuit, and was mindful of his father's advice about how to handle it.

Verstappen has also spent a day driving the F1 layout on a simulator.

He says his father has raced at Suzuka many times and told him it's not an easy track to start on, adding he's not going there to break any records, he just wants to gain experience.

Toro Rosso's Russian rookie Daniil Kvyat, who made his debut this season as a 19-year-old and took Vettel's record as the youngest ever points scorer, has not even been to Japan before let alone Suzuka.