Max Verstappen: “Boss” In the Making

Many will remember Dutch F1 driver Jos Verstappen, more for his cool self-styled nickname “Jos The Boss” from a decade ago. He retired from F1 in 2003 after a modest professional F1 career, and was best-known for partnering Michael Schumacher during his first-ever title win for Benetton in 1994.

 

“Jos the Boss”, currently, is 43 years old — the age Schumacher retired at from Mercedes in 2012. He is known to be the most successful Dutch driver that ever lived (he has won A1 Grand Prix and LMP2 series races). This record will stand for less than a year more.

Because Max Verstappen, his 16 year old son and racing wunderkind, will debut for the F1 team Scuderia Toro Rosso (sister team of World Champions Red Bull, where Vettel started his career too) in the 2015 season.

You heard that right.

Max is 16, and will be 17 when he makes his debut, thus becoming the youngest EVER driver in F1 history, beating the previous record held by Spaniard Jamie Alguersuari (19 years) by a full two years for the same team back in 2009. Alguersuari raced only one season, and left the sport at 20, but many expect Max to be the biggest thing to happen to the sport since young Lewis Hamilton took the world by storm in 2007.

Max will replace Frenchman Vergne in the line-up next year for the Red Bull owned team, and will combine with fellow teenager Russian Daniil Kvyat who made his debut this year with the team and already earned his first points at Melbourne becoming the youngest driver ever to do so. Max could smash that record even if he is scoreless for his first year, considering former stalwarts’ confidence in him at such a tender age. Technically, Max won’t be allowed to take the roads in Netherlands for another year, and won’t be allowed to drive unassisted till he turns 18, but will be locking horns with a Champion field in the most dangerous sport in the world in the meantime.

Team Principal Franz Tost stated that they consider Max to be one of the most skilled drivers of the new generation. That is an understatement, because only a year ago, Max became the carting World Champion at the age of 15. He is currently competing in the F3 series—his first season in F3 of course—challenging seriously for the title, now in second place after a string of pathbreaking wins.

Many will argue against this decision and put the responsibility squarely on the shoulders of the team—who seem to have discovered a knack for breaking age records, but not in vain, because current import into Red Bull Australian driver Daniel Ricciardo is outperforming Vettel in the season and impressing everyone with his consistent podium performances. Catch ‘em young, their motto, isn’t entirely misplaced.

2015 seems far away, considering the current exclusive and predictable two-horse battle between teammates Hamilton and Rosberg for Mercedes. But it will be a historical year, while Jos the Boss will look on as his son goes on to become the most successful driver in Dutch—and probably F1—history.
He does have a bit of a headstart. No rush.

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