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Max absolves first Scuderia Toro Rosso test

Published on 10 September 2014 by Stefan Meens

After familiarizing himself with a Formula 1 cockpit at Rockingham and a promotional drive in the streets of Rotterdam, Max Verstappen had his first official test at the wheel of a Formula 1 car today. At the Adria International Raceway, a mere two hours from Scuderia Toro Rosso's factory, the Dutchman clocked 148 laps on the 1.6 mile track. He did so in an STR7, a 2012 spec car build by the Faenza based squad.

Max: “I was looking forward to my first drive in a Formula 1 car on a proper race track and I really enjoyed it. It was a good opportunity to work with Xevi, who will be my race engineer next year, as well as having a chance to get used to all the buttons on the steering wheel. I think it went well.” 

The 16-year-old Red Bull Junior, who will race alongside Daniil Kvyat next year for Scuderia Toro Rosso, kicked off the day on intermediate tyres as the track was still damp in the morning after overnight rain. However, conditions improved enough for him to switch to slicks later in the day. The rapid Dutchman did a mix of short and long runs as well as trying his hand at other features of a race weekend, such as pit stops and start launches.

Asked how he experienced his first official test, Max answered: “It's was a fun day and it wasn’t at all tiring. The steering is actually a lot lighter compared to a Formula 3 racer. However, driving an F1 car is totally different and I’m happy I was able to do a lot of laps. It meant I could get used to the carbon brakes as well as all the buttons on the steering wheel.”
Max is unfazed by driving an F1 car, but he is impressed by the activity surrounding the Toro Rosso pits. “It's pretty impressive to see all those people that make the car run, the way they tackle issues, the engineering side of things etc.”

Max is not the only one happy with the progress made during the test. Scuderia Toro Rosso's sporting director Steve Nielsen explains: “In his first real test in a Formula 1 car, Max did a very competent job, giving the impression he has been driving a Formula 1 car for quite a while, not like someone on their first day behind the wheel. He made no mistakes all day, seemed confident and once he was told something he remembered it. In general, he coped very well with this first test.”

Xevi Pujolar, Max' race engineer echoes Nielsen's sentiments: “Max started his run on Intermediates and got up to speed, making no mistakes. We worked through various procedures that make up a race weekend. He was very focused and precise and learned quickly, without having to ask many questions. Once we were able to fit slicks, he got used to the car in the dry and built up his speed, while we tried various fuel levels, replicating both qualifying and race trim, doing a mix of short and long runs. For a first day, it was very impressive.”

After a successful day, Verstappen junior is keen for more: “It went well today and I can’t wait to get back into a Formula 1 car as soon as possible”, concludes a relaxed and happy Max.

For exclusive pictures of Max' test at the Adria International Raceway, check out our photo album.