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Toro Rosso signs Dutch 16-year-old Verstappen to be team's F1 driver next season

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LONDON - Max Verstappen is set to become the youngest ever driver in Formula One after Toro Rosso announced that the 16-year-old Dutchman will join the team next season.

Verstappen has been racing in the Formula 3 European Championship this year, winning eight of 27 races, and joined the Red Bull Junior Team this month.

Toro Rosso, the sister team of Red Bull, said Monday that Verstappen will race alongside Daniil Kvyat in 2015, replacing Frenchman Jean-Eric Vergne.

"Ever since I was 7 years old, Formula 1 has been my career goal, so this opportunity is truly a dream come true," Verstappen said in a statement.

The teenager, who will turn 17 next month, is the son of former F1 driver Jos Verstappen. He would shatter the record for the youngest person to drive in F1, with Jaime Alguersuari holding the current mark of 19 years, 125 days. The 20-year-old Kvyat is the youngest driver on this year's F1 grid.

"We consider Max to be one of the most skilled young drivers of the new generation and we believe he has the necessary maturity and mental strength to take on this challenge successfully," Toro Rosso team principal Franz Tost said. "This year he has already demonstrated how well he can cope under difficult conditions. ... Bearing in mind that Scuderia Toro Rosso was created with the aim of bringing young talent from the Red Bull Junior Team into Formula 1 and to educate them, it will now be up to us to provide Max with a competitive car, which will enable him to have the best possible start to his Formula 1 career."

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