17-Year-Old F1 Driver Prepares to Take Driving Test
17-year-old Max Verstappen is arguably the hottest young property in F1. But he's not yet got a licence to drive on the road.
Image via Scuderia Toro Rosso
On Sunday afternoon, 17-year-old Max Verstappen scored the best result of his young Formula 1 career by taking fourth at the Hungarian Grand Prix.
The Dutchman was just shy of sharing the podium with race winner and four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel, but he could take solace from beating a pair of two-time champions, with Fernando Alonso fifth and Lewis Hamilton sixth at the Hungaroring circuit.
Verstappen has made a bright start to life in F1: there have been a few crashes, as you might expect of someone still barely out of puberty, but performances like yesterday's suggest he is every bit the superstar his backers Red Bull believe.
But despite this, Verstappen can't drive — legally, on a road.
Let's be clear: Max Verstappen is a well-paid professional who drives a 200mph Formula 1 car at weekends, but he still needs his mum or dad to give him lifts. So, with F1 now on a four-week break between grands prix, Max is heading home to learn to drive. Which you have to imagine isn't going to be the most difficult thing he does this year.
"I'm doing my lessons in the summer break and then will take my test around my birthday in September," he told the Press Association.
"With the F1 schedule it has been difficult to fit everything in so I've had to wait for the break. You need a minimum six or seven hours driving under the laws in Belgium where I live – and I hope that's all I need. We'll see."
The son of scary former F1 racer Jos Verstappen, Max is the youngest man/boy ever to compete in the championship — and he always will be. Shortly after he was signed to race for Toro Rosso this season, a new rule was passed stating that an F1 driver must be at last 18 years old. As such, his record of racing aged 17 years, 166 days, will never be beaten.
Now he just needs to lose those L-plates.