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Max Verstappen

Verstappen rivals told to 'give back their licences' after complete annihilation

The former AlphaTauri Team Principal recalls how Max Verstappen impressed during an early scouting mission for Red Bull.

Tost Verstappen 2015
To news overview © Getty Images/Red Bull Contentpool

Former AlphaTauri Team Principal Franz Tost has been a key figure in bringing new talent into Formula 1, with one of those being Max Verstappen.

The Austrian, who played a role in scouting talent for the Red Bull Junior Team along with Helmut Marko, recalls how he first found out about Verstappen during his Formula 3 season.

"I remember Max at the Norisring [circuit in Germany] at 16 years old. It was wet and he was one and a half to two seconds faster than anyone else," he told BBC.

"I said all other drivers should give back their licences, the only driver in this field is Max Verstappen."

Tost: Normally drivers need 100-150km, not Verstappen

Verstappen would eventually go on to be signed for Red Bull with Toro Rosso, after the team offered a fast-track seat to F1 over rival bidders Mercedes.

When the Dutchman was just 17 years-old he made his F1 practice debut with Toro Rosso at the 2014 Japanese Grand Prix.

Tost was impressed with his quickly he adapted to the performance of the tricky hybrid F1 cars.

"During his first test I was really impressed how fast he adapted to the speed and brakes… normally drivers need 100-150km to get used to the enormous power which an F1 car has under accelerating and under braking. But from the first lap onwards he was familiar with everything," said Tost.

"We decided he would do FP1 in Suzuka [at the 2014 Japanese Grand Prix] and journalists said: 'You are totally crazy… Suzuka is one of the most dangerous tracks; how can you start him in FP1? He has to be prepared.'

"I said: 'Don't talk so much, let's discuss in five years, then we will see who was right - you or me?' It didn't take five years - immediately, from the first year."

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