LONDON (Reuters) - Spanish youngster Carlos Sainz, whose father and namesake was a double world rally champion in the 1990s, will race in Formula One next season with Toro Rosso in the youngest lineup on the starting grid.
The Red Bull-owned team said on Friday that the 20-year-old would partner 17-year-old Dutch rookie Max Verstappen whose father Jos was a Formula One regular.
Team principal Franz Tost said in a statement that the all-new lineup continued “the Toro Rosso tradition of providing youngsters from the Red Bull Junior Driver Program with their first steps in Formula One”.
Verstappen, who will be the sport’s youngest ever driver, was signed in August as replacement for Frenchman Jean-Eric Vergne at the Italy-based team who are sponsored by Spanish petroleum company CEPSA.
A second vacancy at the team then emerged when Russian Daniil Kvyat was promoted from Toro Rosso to the main Red Bull team after quadruple world champion Sebastian Vettel announced he was leaving for Ferrari.
Sainz, who won the Renault 3.5 world series this year with a record seven wins, became the frontrunner for the seat after he tested with Renault-powered Red Bull in Abu Dhabi this week and Vergne confirmed he would not be staying.
”I am really happy to have landed the drive with Scuderia Toro Rosso,“ said Sainz. ”Ever since I have been part of Red Bull’s Young Driver Program this has been my aim.
“I tested for a day with Toro Rosso last year and I liked the atmosphere in the team. In the next few months I will be working hard on my preparation, ready to get in the cockpit in Jerez for the first test of next year.”
Sainz will give Spain two drivers on the grid, with double world champion Fernando Alonso set to return to McLaren after leaving Ferrari.
Editing by Tony Jimenez