Toro Rosso tips Max Verstappen to score points on F1 debut

Max Verstappen will score points on his Formula 1 debut if the Toro Rosso is competitive, believes his team boss Franz Tost

Toro Rosso tips Max Verstappen to score points on F1 debut

Verstappen's rapid graduation to F1, aged just 17 and with just one season of car racing behind him, was a factor in a recent overaul of superlicence rules.

But despite the controversy Verstappen's fast-track to the top has caused, Tost sees no reason why the Dutchman will not match 2014 Toro Rosso driver Daniil Kvyat's achievement of scoring in his first race.

"I saw [Verstappen] two years ago in the karting world championship and I was quite impressed by his speed and his car control," Tost told AUTOSPORT.

"I'm really convinced that if we provide him with a good car that he will immediately score points. It will be a similar story to Daniil.

"I don't expect any problems for him. He will be well prepared for Melbourne."

Tost believes criticisms of Verstappen's age are unfounded because junior single-seater regulations now allow drivers to move into car racing younger, and he added that there are plenty of older drivers who are not good enough.

"Last year at this stage I got the same questions about Kvyat," he said.

"Max comes into Formula 1 with, I would say, 10 years' experience [including karting], and if you go back 20 years or whatever it was a completely different scenario.

"You can now drive a formula car at 15 years old. The FIA regulations allow this, and now it's possible for a 16- or 17-year-old to come into Formula 1.

"Times have changed. It's not the age [that counts], it's the performance the driver shows.

"I know a lot of drivers who are 24 but they are simply too slow to do F1.

"And then there are very young drivers who are very fast and they will show a good performance.

"I'm convinced Max will do this if we provide him with a proper car."

STAR DEBUTS

Formula 1 has witnessed some eye-catching debuts since the world championship began in 1950.

A total of 70 drivers have scored points in their first world championship race, although the only winner is Giancarlo Baghetti, who triumphed in the 1961 French Grand Prix.

Success as a rookie is no guarantee of a great career, but it does serve to make a good impression. Here are 10 memorable debut performances:

Clay Regazzoni - 1970 Dutch Grand Prix - 4th
Alain Prost - 1980 Argentinean Grand Prix - 6th
Johnny Herbert - 1989 Brazilian Grand Prix - 4th
Jean Alesi - 1989 French Grand Prix - 4th
Eddie Irvine - 1993 Japanese Grand Prix - 6th
Jacques Villeneuve - 1996 Australian Grand Prix - 2nd
Kimi Raikkonen - 2001 Australian Grand Prix - 6th
Mark Webber - 2002 Australian Grand Prix (pictured) - 5th
Lewis Hamilton - 2007 Australian Grand Prix - 3rd
Sebastian Vettel - 2007 United States Grand Prix - 8th

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