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Verstappen has all the ingredients of a champion - Marko

19 Aug 2014

Max Verstappen has all the qualities needed to be a future Formula One world champion, according to Red Bull's motorsport consultant Helmut Marko.

Toro Rosso announced on Monday that Verstappen, newly recruited by the Red Bull Junior Team, will drive alongside Daniil Kvyat from the start of the 2015 season.

Though the Dutchman will have just one year of single-seater experience to draw upon, Marko says Red Bull are convinced there is no risk, given what the 16-year-old has already proved capable of.

"I think he has unbelievable speed," Marko told Red Bull. "For his age he is very mature, and he is a hard worker. He has all the necessary ingredients you need to be absolute champion.

"It was a surprise how quickly he adapted to Formula Three. The moment I thought [he was] something really special was at the Norisring. In mixed conditions - it was more wet than dry - he was per lap two seconds and more faster than anyone else.

"He will be 17 when he has his first race, which is pretty young, but I don't think it is a risk. He proved in various races that he can use his head. I had quite a few conversations with him and there you see how mature he is.

"Toro Rosso is well known for educating and training young drivers, so he comes into [that] environment, and with all the possibilities which are around the Red Bull family - I think he'll go into the season well prepared. We can't see any risk doing it like that."

Verstappen, son of Formula One veteran Jos, admitted his deal with Toro Rosso - which will make him the youngest F1 driver in history - has yet to sink in, but insists he is ready for the challenge.

"I couldn't believe it in the beginning but I'm really, really happy at the moment," he said.

"It happened so fast, in one year and from Formula Three only…you start to realise it a bit more when you see a Formula One car, but I think you completely realise it when you are in the car. Then you are ‘okay this is it'.

"Of course I will do a lot of training from now on to be prepared to the big step. I think the age doesn't really matter. You want to be fast of course, but the main goal is just to try and be very consistent and not make too many mistakes.

"I think it will be very good for Holland to have a new Dutch F1 driver - and also I am the second Verstappen name now, so I think that will be really cool. In the future of course I hope to become a world champion - that is also a dream."

Marko said the announcement had been made now in order to give Verstappen the maximum time possible to ready himself for his debut season, and also to give the outgoing Jean-Eric Vergne a chance to prove himself to other F1 teams.

"We are announcing it in the middle of the season to end all the speculation, to give a really good preparation for next year," Marko said.

"We were a little bit spoiled by what we have seen from Kvyat, who came into F1 with nearly no testing and was immediately in the points. I think we expect similar things from Max.

"On the other hand [there are] eight races left for Jean-Eric Vergne. He can make a good impression by having some really good results [which can] help him further his Formula One career."

Verstappen has won eight times and scored 13 podiums in his maiden FIA European Formula Three campaign, and lies second in the championship with two rounds to go.