YOUNGEST DRIVER YET: Max Verstappen will join Toro Rosso in 2015 though he could make his grand prix debut later in 2014. Image: Toro Rosso/Red Bull
Toro Rosso has confirmed Max Verstappen will become Formula 1's youngest race driver yet when he joins the team in 2015.
The 16-year-old, whose father Jos drove for Toro Rosso's former guise Minardi in 2003, will replace veteran Jean-Eric Vergne in 2015.
Team boss Franz Tost thanked Vergne for his "hard work" since his 2012 debut and said that "he still deserves another opportunity in F1".
BAD NEWS FOR SAINZ JNR
It is also bad news for Carlos Sainz jnr, who was previously the favourite to be Daniil Kvyat's next team mate.
Sainz said on Twitter: "Many people asking which way I'm going to take and I say the same as since the start of the year - hard work, perseverance and the (World Series by Renault) title!"
Vergne (24) has yet to comment.
The news was first announced late on Monday (August 19) by Red Bull's Helmut Marko on Austrian television Servus TV.
Marko said Verstappen, who will be 17-years-old when he makes his record-breaking F1 debut next March, will be with Toro Rosso at Spa-Francorchamps this weekend but only to observe.
GP DEBUT IN 2014?
Marko said: "After the formula 3 season is finished his programme will intensify. We will organise a 300km test for him to obtain the super license."
It is rumoured Verstappen might then make his grand prix weekend debut late in 2014, perhaps in Austin, Brazil or Abu Dhabi, during Friday morning practice sessions.
Marko said: "It was not difficult for us and every top team as well to realise what an extraordinary talent he is. We are very proud that he has joined Red Bull.
"Max is the sort of driver who can start straight away in F1. There are not many who have managed the transition from karting to formula 3 so well. He does not need more experience in the other junior classes."