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Toro Rosso confirm Verstappen for FP1 at Suzuka

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Toro Rosso confirm Verstappen for FP1 at Suzuka
Sep 29, 2014, 12:26 PM

Toro Rosso have confirmed that Max Verstappen, who turns 17 years of age tomorrow, will take part in free practice one in Suzuka this weekend.

Toro Rosso have confirmed that Max Verstappen, who turns 17 years of age tomorrow, will take part in free practice one in Suzuka this weekend.

The Italian squad had been waiting on the granting of an FIA Superlicence for the Dutchman but that hurdle now appears to have been overcome and on Friday the youngster will get the birthday present of a lifetime as he replaces Jean-Eric Vergne in the opening session of the Japanese Grand Prix weekend.

"I am very much looking forward to taking part in a free practice session at a grand prix for the first time,” said Verstappen, who earlier this month completed 148 laps and 396km of Italy’s Adria Circuit to pass the 300km required for the granting of a Superlicence.

“It is good preparation for next year, even if it’s not something I could have imagined a few months ago. To already be participating in a practice session is of course a dream come true,” he added.

“I have actually been to Suzuka before, to take part in a go-kart race on the track that is located next to the main circuit’s back straight. My dad has raced at Suzuka many times and he told me it’s not an easy track to start on. For me it will be a very valuable experience, spending some time in the car and also getting used to working with everyone in the team, to prepare myself for next year.

“I am not going there to break any records, I just want to gain experience,” Verstappen concluded. “I have spent one day driving this track on the simulator, which helps a bit, but it’s no substitute for driving it for real. My first impression is that it’s not an easy track and for example it looks hard to get the combination right in the first Esses. I have one and a half hours to drive there and I’m looking forward to doing a good job, for myself and for the team.”

The FP1 outing marks the beginning of a busy period for Verstappen. Following his Suzuka debut, he will return to Europe to contest the final two rounds of the FIA F3 European Championship, first at Imola on 10-12 October and then at the season finale in Hockenheim on 17-19 October. The Dutch driver currently lies second in the championships standings with 325 points, 75 behind series leader Esteban Ocon. After that Verstappen will contest the Macau F3 Grand Prix in mid-November.

 

 
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