Dutchman Verstappen, currently in contention for the 2014 European F3 title, will become the youngest F1 racer in history, debuting at the age of just 17.
“Ever since I was seven years old, Formula One has been my career goal, so this opportunity is truly a dream come true,” said Verstappen, whose father Jos made 106 Grand Prix starts between 1994 and 2002.
“We are happy to welcome Max into the Toro Rosso family,” commented Toro Rosso team principal Franz Tost. “It’s great to see how the Red Bull Junior Programme continues to find talented young drivers and gives them the opportunity to come into Formula One.”
After becoming karting world champion last year, Verstappen has made a smooth transition to the highly competitive FIA Formula Three European Championship, proving his ability by winning eight of the 27 races held to date.
“We consider Max to be as one of the most skilled young drivers of the new generation and we believe he has the necessary maturity and mental strength to take on this challenge successfully,” continued Tost.
Verstappen’s signing leaves Vergne’s F1 future in doubt. Having made his debut with Toro Rosso in 2011, last year the Frenchman lost out to Daniel Ricciardo on promotion to Red Bull Racing and this season he has been regularly overshadowed by rookie team mate Kvyat.
Tost thanked Vergne for all his hard work, adding: “He has produced strong performances, but unfortunately he was also hindered by some reliability problems, especially in the first half of the current season.
“We hope that we have resolved these problems and that he will be able to end the second half of this season on a high note and thereby show that he still deserves another opportunity in Formula One.”