Marko: Verstappen has 'unbelievable speed'
19 August 2014 – Red Bull Motorsport Consultant Helmut Marko has praised new Toro Rosso signing Max Verstappen, describing the Dutch youngster as a 'special' talent with 'unbelievable speed'.
It was confirmed on Monday that Verstappen, who turns 17 next month, will race alongside Daniil Kvyat at Toro Rosso next season.
Verstappen has been competing in the European Formula 3 Championship this year, in his first year of single-seater racing, and is currently in second place in the standings.
"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."
Marko played down the risk of promoting Verstappen after just one season of car racing.
"He will be 17 when he has his first race, which is pretty young, but I don't think it is a risk," he said. "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."
Marko added that the early announcement provides Verstappen with ample time to prepare for his Formula 1 debut next year – and challenged the Dutch driver to emulate future team-mate Kvyat.
"We are announcing it in the middle of the season to end all the speculation, to give a really good preparation for next year," he 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."