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Red Bull F1 chief reveals 'ultimate test' for Verstappen to prove himself

Red Bull F1 chief reveals 'ultimate test' for Verstappen to prove himself

Red Bull F1 chief reveals 'ultimate test' for Verstappen to prove himself

Red Bull F1 chief reveals 'ultimate test' for Verstappen to prove himself

Max Verstappen was handed his first drive in Formula 1 at Suzuka in 2014 – and Red Bull chief advisor Helmut Marko has revealed that the team used that session as an ‘ultimate test.’

The Dutchman began his F1 career with Red Bull’s junior team Toro Rosso in 2015 after he jumped from Formula 3.

READ MORE: Horner Red Bull saga given fresh update ahead of Chinese Grand Prix

Verstappen has gone on to become a three-time champion after being promoted to the main team in place of Daniil Kvyat in 2016 and has the third most amount of wins in history with 57.

The 26-year-old currently leads the 2024 championship ahead of team-mate Sergio Perez, having won three of the four opening races.

READ MORE: EXCLUSIVE: F1 winner hints at KEY reason for Ricciardo ‘struggle’

Max Verstappen made his F1 debut in 2014
The Dutchman is now a three-time world champion

Marko reveals Verstappen 'ultimate test' in Suzuka

This year marks ten years since Verstappen first drove an F1 car in the FP1 session in Japan in 2014, aged just 17.

Speaking with Autosport, Marko reflected on that session and revealed that the team sent him out ‘very deliberately’ to test Verstappen around a difficult circuit,

"We very deliberately held that first practice on Suzuka as a kind of ultimate test for Max," he explained. "That is one of the toughest circuits on the entire calendar for young drivers and gave us a good chance to see how Max would perform in difficult conditions."

READ MORE: Red Bull boss Horner beaten by F1 NEMESIS as new rich list unveiled

Helmut Marko wanted to test Verstappen in his Toro Rosso around Suzuka

On a weekend that was overshadowed by the tragic accident that led to the death of Jules Bianchi, Verstappen handled himself round Suzuka well, but had to end his run early due to issues with his Toro Rosso.

"I remember well that at the end of that session, there were flames coming out of my car so that all went well," Verstappen joked.

"But no, no kidding: it was a good session. It might not have been easy to get a very first F1 appearance straight away at Suzuka, but Red Bull was keen for me to start there.”

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