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Marko defends Verstappen signing

Wednesday 20-August-2014 07:23

Helmut Marko has denied that signing Max Verstappen is a risk, adamant that the 16-year-old has all the makings of an "absolute champion."

Earlier this month, Red Bull announced that the European Formula Three title contender had joined their junior programme. That announcement led to this week's confirmation that he will race for Toro Rosso next season.

Verstappen, who will be 17 when he takes to the Australian GP grid, will partner Daniil Kvyat at STR.

Despite his age and his lack of single-seater experience - he only entered single-seater racing at the start of this season - Marko believes that in the Dutch racer he has a future World Champion.

"I think he has unbelievable speed," Marko told the official F1 website. "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."

The Red Bull advisor also denied that it was a risky move putting Verstappen in the car, confident he will be prepared when the F1 season gets underway in Australia next March.

"He will be 17 when he has his first race, which is pretty young, but I don't think it is a risk. 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."

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