Despite fielding an all-rookie line-up at Toro Rosso in 2015, Helmut Marko is “confident” Max Verstappen and Carlos Sainz are up to the challenge.
Having raised eyebrows with the signing of teenager Verstappen, Toro Rosso then took the unusual step of teaming the Dutchman up with another rookie in Sainz Jr.
The Spaniard, who won the Formula Renault 3.5 Championship earlier this year, is part of the Red Bull fold and beat out other drivers, including the more experienced Jean-Eric Vergne, for the second race-seat.
Marko said: “Carlos has been with the Red Bull Junior Team for a long time. He’s had some ups and downs, but he convinced us by winning this year’s World Series title – and especially doing so with a record of seven wins.
“Nobody in the history of the series has matched Carlos in that regard. He’s matured a lot in the last two years.
“Of course, we were waiting to see how the Championships were going. And then the test in Abu Dhabi in the Formula One car [for Red Bull Racing] was the thing that really confirmed to us he was the right man for the seat.
“He had a very successful test this week. He did 100 laps, the speed was good and the technical feedback was good. He’s done everything we expected, so I’d say he was the natural choice.”
The Red Bull advisor has downplayed concerns about the duo’s combined lack of experience as both will make their F1 debuts in 2015, Verstappen, though, has at least taken part in several Friday FP1 sessions.
“We have a lot of trust in the drivers, but we also have a lot of trust in Toro Rosso, led by Franz Tost,” said Marko. “He handles the situation and the education of young drivers very well. All of the preparation he did with Max was very good.
“Of course, it gives us nice, bright future driver-wise – and also it means our budgets are not as affected as those of other teams!”
He added: “I’m looking forward to seeing these two young guys having their first season! We’re confident they’ll do very well. From the tests, the approach, the personalities, everything looks really promising.”