Drivers back Verstappen promotion

By on Thursday, August 21, 2014
Red Bull/Getty Images

Red Bull/Getty Images

Formula 1 drivers have backed Toro Rosso's decision to promote Max Verstappen to a race seat for the 2015 season, despite the Dutch driver yet to turn 17.

Verstappen was announced as Jean-Eric Vergne's replacement at the team and some of his 2015 rivals believe that the news is positive for the sport.

"He’s a very quick driver," said Williams's Felipe Massa. "He shows talent in a go-kart, in Formula 3, winning many races; I think he’s second in the championship. It’s his opportunity.

"First of all, I think it’s great that teams are still interested in the talent of the driver and not the money and I think that’s really positive, it’s good for the sport in general. I’m happy for that. 17  is a little bit young! For sure, we need to wait and see how he’s going to perform in his first year.

"I think the most important thing is that he has the talent; I mean he’s quick. I hope he can be clever as well, to learn everything from Formula One. There’s a lot that be will learn and I hope he’s quick enough to learn and to be consistent in Formula One and that he can stay, not just staying for one or two years and not doing what he’s supposed to do. Until now he shows great talent and I hope he can show the same in Formula One, so I’m happy."

Championship leader Nico Rosberg agreed.

"All the journalists are always asking ‘is it only with money that you can get to the sport?’ and things like that," he said.

"It’s great to see that if you have the talent and you really deserve it… there have been many examples recently that have made it into F1. That’s important, that’s good. Of course, it’s very young but I think we’ll be OK."

Romain Grosjean also congratulated the Dutch youngster although warned that he has a lot to learn.

"It’s a wonderful opportunity that he has and it’s something quite special to come to Formula One," he said.

"As everyone says, he has shown great talent early in his career but he will have a lot of homework to do to learn everything about racing in higher categories – tyre degradation, speed, a lot of things. But it’s good to see fresh blood, but a bit sad for Jean-Eric."

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