Neil Verhagen will continue his alliance with the Red Bull Junior Team into 2018, with the young American joining Tech 1 Racing for his sophomore campaign in the Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 series.
The seventeen-year-old moves across from MP Motorsport, with whom he took a podium finish at the Hungaroring in Eurocup, whilst also securing his maiden victory in Europe when he took the chequered flag first at Assen in the Formula Renault 2.0 Northern European Cup.
“I’m thrilled to be with Tech 1 Racing,” said Verhagen. “I know they’ll provide me with the best environment to continue to improve my skills.
“I’m also very grateful to the Red Bull Junior Team. Without Dr. Marko and Red Bull’s support, I simply wouldn’t be able to race in Europe and chase my ultimate goal of Formula 1. I’d also like to thank my parents, my grandparents and everyone back in the US who supports me.”
Verhagen tested with Tech 1 Racing during the winter tests, and was quickest on all three days, so joining the French outfit was an easy decision to make.
“Right from the first test with the team in Barcelona, I felt very comfortable with the team and the car,” said Verhagen. “Everyone at Tech 1 Racing is so positive and passionate about what they do while still keeping things fun.
“The environment is very good and I really enjoy working with Arnaud my engineer, Simon, Sarah and everyone in the team. We definitely identified some things which I will be working on with them before the season starts, but overall the testing was all very positive.
“My first year of experience in Europe is going to be a tremendous help. There were quite a few things for me to get used to the first year which are now second nature and will help me to focus more closely on the areas which will get me the best performance.”
Verhagen is looking to have a much more competitive 2018 and wants to hear his national anthem playing often as he continues to strive to become a Formula 1 driver. He also revealed that current Scuderia Toro Rosso driver Brendon Hartley has given him advice, while he has also learned some things from long-term Red Bull member Pierre Gasly.
“It’s going to be hard to wait all the way until March before I get into my race car again!” said Verhagen. “I think that Tech 1 Racing is going to have a great line-up next year, and I very much look forward to my team-mates and myself pushing each other hard to achieve great results for ourselves and the team.
“From seeing the driver line-ups with the other teams during winter testing, I have no doubt that next year is going to be an extremely competitive year again for Formula Renault Eurocup.
“My goal is to hear the United States of America anthem playing at as many races as possible and have a good run at the championship. In the longer term I’m hoping to break into Formula 1 like all the other members of the Red Bull Junior Team that have passed through the hands of Tech 1 Racing.
“I wouldn’t say it adds additional pressure, instead I see it more as an opportunity to learn from them. Brendon already gave me great advice last year and I’ve known Pierre Gasly from the Junior Team. I plan to reach out and hope they can give me some more guidance since a few years ago they were in exactly the same spot I am in now!”