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Current F1 drivers back teen rookie Max Verstappen

  • Published on 22 Aug 2014 11:16
  • comments 0
  • By: Rob Veenstra
As F1 woke from its summer slumber, the big talking point at Spa was 16-year-old Jos Verstappen. "At least Red Bull's marketing is working well because almost all the questions are about that," smiled Fernando Alonso.

Felipe Massa is quoted by the Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf: "First, it's good that there are teams interested in talented drivers instead of just the money they bring. Max is a little on the young side but we will have to see how it turns out," the Brazilian added.

Massa's opinion was fairly widespread up and down the paddock -- history-making 2015 rookie Verstappen is extremely young, but he seems to have earned his place on the grid and should grab the opportunity with both hands. "All the journalists are always asking, 'Is it only money that can get you into the sport?'" said Mercedes' Nico Rosberg. "It's great to see if you have the talent and deserve it."

Alonso said: "Age is just what is on your passport. Some are ready at 17, some are not ready at 29." Jenson Button, F1's most experienced driver, on Thursday recalled being phoned more than 14 years ago by Sir Frank Williams, asking him if he was ready for F1. He was 19. "I said no initially," said the Briton. Most F1 drivers asked on Thursday agreed with Button's assessment.

Lewis Hamilton said he pushed for an early debut long before his actual first race in 2007, but was rebuked by McLaren's chiefs and also his father. "When I did arrive, I was ready and that was why I had success," he is quoted by Brazil's Totalrace. "But each driver has a different path -- Kimi (Raikkonen) for example did not have much experience."

Raikkonen, whose 2001 debut was highly controversial, said at Spa: "I did well. Time will tell how he will do. "The sport is more straightforward now than in the past, so I don't think he will have problems and I hope he does well." Adrian Sutil also said Verstappen is right to grab his chance. "It might be the only one you get. I would probably do the same if I got the call and I was 17 or 18."

Alonso, though, has made a point over the last few days of hinting Red Bull should have promoted his countryman Carlos Sainz jr rather than the younger and less experienced Verstappen. "It does appear that Carlos at 19 is higher, he is the leader of the World Series and has everything it takes to be a great driver," said the Spaniard. "I'm sure he will be in F1 sooner or later so I'm not worried about that."

Former F1 team owner and boss Gian Carlo Minardi thinks so too. "This move has surprised me," he is quoted by El Confidencial, "because it causes problems for Carlos Sainz jr who has been part of the Red Bull family for years.

"For this reason I could see Toro Rosso (in 2015) with Sainz jr and Kvyat at Red Bull, taking the place of Sebastian Vettel. Do not forget with have a very determined Honda fighting for a top driver, and Alonso, Hamilton and Vettel are all unhappy with their situations. We could be close to many changes with a domino effect," added Minardi. (GMM)

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Driver profile

  • Team Alpine F1
  • Points 215
  • Podiums 1
  • Grand Prix 100
  • Country ES
  • Date of b. Jul 29 1981 (40)
  • Place of b. Oviedo, ES
  • Weight 68 kg
  • Length 1.71 m
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Date
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Bahrain
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Bahrain
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Italy
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Portugal
7 - May 9 2021
Spain
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Monaco
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Azerbaijan
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France
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Austria
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Austria
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Hungary
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Belgium
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Netherlands
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Italy
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Russian
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Japan
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Turkey
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United States of America
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Mexico
12 - Nov 14 2021
Brazil
19 - Nov 21 2021
Qatar
3 - Dec 5 2021
Saudi Arabia
10 - Dec 12 2021
United Arab Emirates
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Formula 1 Calendar - 2021

Date
Grand Prix & Circuit
26 - Mar 28 2021
16 - Apr 18 2021
30 - May 2 2021
7 - May 9 2021
20 - May 23 2021
Monaco Monte Carlo
4 - Jun 6 2021
Azerbaijan Baku City Circuit
18 - Jun 20 2021
France Paul Ricard
25 - Jun 27 2021
Austria Red Bull Ring
2 - Jul 4 2021
Austria Red Bull Ring
16 - Jul 18 2021
United Kingdom Silverstone
30 - Aug 1 2021
Hungary Hungaroring
27 - Aug 29 2021
3 - Sep 5 2021
Netherlands Circuit Zandvoort
10 - Sep 12 2021
Italy Monza
24 - Sep 26 2021
Russian Sochi Autodrom
8 - Oct 10 2021
8 - Oct 10 2021
Turkey Istanbul Park
22 - Oct 24 2021
United States of America Circuit of the Americas
5 - Nov 7 2021
12 - Nov 14 2021
Brazil Interlagos
19 - Nov 21 2021
3 - Dec 5 2021
Saudi Arabia Jeddah Street Circuit
10 - Dec 12 2021
United Arab Emirates Yas Marina Circuit
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United Arab Emirates Yas Marina Circuit
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