Max Verstappen has been tipped to score points on his Formula 1 debut at the Australian Grand Prix in March by his Scuderia Toro Rosso boss Franz Tost.
Tost believes that Verstappen, who will become the youngest Formula 1 driver in history at Albert Park, could finish inside the top ten, providing his team can provide him with a car that is good enough.
“I saw [Verstappen] two years ago in the karting world championship and I was quite impressed by his speed and his car control,” said Tost to Autosport. “I’m really convinced that if we provide him with a good car that he will immediately score points. It will be a similar story to Daniil [Kvyat].
“I don’t expect any problems for him. He will be well prepared for Melbourne.”
Russian Daniil Kvyat is the current youngest driver to score points in Formula 1 history, after finishing ninth in the 2014 Australian Grand Prix aged 19 years and 329 days, usurping Sebastian Vettel, who scored a point for BMW-Sauber in the 2007 United States Grand Prix at Indianapolis aged 19 years and 354 days.
Kvyat and Vettel are the only teenagers to score points in F1 history, and with Verstappen only seventeen, it is likely that he will add the record as the sports youngest ever points scorer to that of the youngest ever driver.
Tost does not believe the fact that Verstappen is so young is a reason for people to question the decision to allow him to race in 2015, and thinks the Dutchman is ready for the big time.
“Last year at this stage I got the same questions about Kvyat,” said Tost. “Max comes into Formula 1 with, I would say, 10 years’ experience [including karting], and if you go back 20 years or whatever it was a completely different scenario.
“You can now drive a formula car at 15 years old. The FIA regulations allow this, and now it’s possible for a 16- or 17-year-old to come into Formula 1.
“Times have changed. It’s not the age [that counts], it’s the performance the driver shows. I know a lot of drivers who are 24 but they are simply too slow to do F1.
“And then there are very young drivers who are very fast and they will show a good performance. I’m convinced Max will do this if we provide him with a proper car.”