Verstappen in no rush for next big step

Thu Mar 10, 2016 9:29pm EST
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By Alan Baldwin

LONDON (Reuters) - After taking Formula One by storm last year, and becoming the youngest ever driver and points scorer, Max Verstappen is staying calm as he accelerates into the next phase of his career.

The 18-year-old Dutch sensation has gone from rookie racer, too young to drive himself on public roads, to becoming one of the hottest properties in the sport and talked about as a future world champion.

There has been plenty of paddock speculation about where the Toro Rosso driver could end up, with talk of Ferrari and champions Mercedes as well as the obvious step up to sister team Red Bull.

Verstappen, who passed his regular driving test on his 18th birthday last September but still prefers to be driven to and from the track, appears quite unfazed.

"I know what contract I have. I am very positive also for next year," he told Reuters ahead of the Australian season-opener in Australia on March 20.

"I am very happy with Red Bull, I know what the perspective is for next year and the years after," he added. "Happy to be at Toro Rosso for the moment and to learn more. Then we’ll see next year where we are."

Verstappen was snapped up by Red Bull at the age of 16, making his F1 race debut at the age of 17 and 166 days and then scoring points in his second race in Malaysia when he finished seventh after qualifying sixth.

So precocious was he, and so alarmed were some within the sport, that the governing FIA changed the rules to prevent anyone else under 18 from acquiring a superlicence.   Continued...

Toro Rosso Formula One driver Max Verstappen climbs escalators in the paddock during a testing session at Barcelona-Catalunya racetrack in Montmelo, near Barcelona, Spain, March 3, 2016. REUTERS/Albert Gea