Max Verstappen will make his Formula 1 free practice debut this weekend at Suzuka for the Scuderia Toro Rosso team.
The Dutchman, who only turns seventeen on the thirtieth of September, will get his first taste of 2014 machinery at the Japanese track as he continues his preparations for making his full debut for the team alongside Daniil Kvyat in 2015.
The FIA European Formula 3 Championship race winner admits he is looking forward to his first taste of this years Toro Rosso after gaining the necessary mileage to qualify for a SuperLicence using a 2012 car earlier this month.
“I am very much looking forward to taking part in a Free Practice session at a Grand Prix for the first time,” said Verstappen. “It is good preparation for next year, even if it’s not something I could have imagined a few months ago. To already be participating in a practice session is of course a dream come true.
I have actually been to Suzuka before, to take part in a go-kart race on the track that is located next to the main circuit’s back straight. My dad has raced at Suzuka many times and he told me it’s not an easy track to start on. For me it will be a very valuable experience, spending some time in the car and also getting used to working with everyone in the team, to prepare myself for next year.”
Although Verstappen’s appearance will shatter the record for youngest driver in Formula 1 history, he admits that he is just using the session in Japan for experience rather than to break that record, and is looking forward to getting out on track and hopes to do a good job for both himself and his team.
“I am not going there to break any records, I just want to gain experience. I have spent one day driving this track on the simulator, which helps a bit, but it’s no substitute for driving it for real. My first impression is that it’s not an easy track and for example it looks hard to get the combination right in the first Esses. I have one and a half hours to drive there and I’m looking forward to doing a good job, for myself and for the team.”