An all-rookie line-up will represent Scuderia Toro Rosso at this weekend’s Formula 1 season opener in Australia, with Max Verstappen and Carlos Sainz Jr both making their F1 débuts.
Verstappen is set to break the record books this weekend as he becomes the youngest ever competitor to race in Formula 1, becoming the first seventeen-year-old in history to do so. The Dutchman is unsure about how he will feel when he lines up on Sunday but knows once the race gets under way, he will drive it like every other race he has competed in to date.
“I have been to Australia before, but never to Melbourne,” revealed Verstappen. “I only visited Sydney when I was very young and from what I remember it’s a nice place to go.
“I remember seeing my father race of course and now I have driven the Albert Park track quite a few times on the simulator. I think it’s a nice track and naturally, I’m looking forward to taking part in my first race in F1.
“At the moment, I’m not too sure how I will feel, but when the lights go on I will definitely be very excited and when they go off, then it will be just like every other race I have driven before.”
Team-mate Sainz, the 2014 Formula Renault 3.5 Series champion, will also be making his debut in Australia, and believes it could be a tough weekend in prospect. He is excited about reaching the pinnacle of single-seater motorsport, and cannot wait to get out on track this weekend.
“I have never been to Australia,” said Sainz. “I am really looking forward to my first visit to the country and the city of Melbourne, because everyone has told me a lot of good things about it.
“I have never seen the track before, which is partly a street circuit, so, as a newcomer, I think it is likely to be tough. It will also be the biggest time change I have ever experienced, so I will be heading out there nice and early to deal with any potential jet lag.
“Overall, I am really excited about these new experiences, particularly the fact it will be my first ever Formula 1 Grand Prix.”