Verstappen linked with 2015 Toro Rosso seat

Max Verstappen

Dutch sensation Max Verstappen could race in Formula One as early as next year, according to reports in his homeland.

The 16-year-old has been a star performer in the FIA European F3 Championship this year and currently sits second to Esteban Ocon with three events remaining. 

His form has led to Verstappen being linked with a number of F1 teams' junior programmes in recent weeks, including powerhouses Mercedes and Red Bull

And the latest reports indicate that he will entrust his future to the latter, which could see him racing in Formula One next year for their development squad, Toro Rosso

That would make Verstappen - who turns 17 next month - the youngest driver ever to compete in F1. The record is currently held by former Toro Rosso driver Jaime Alguersuari, who made his debut for the Italian-based squad in 2009 aged 19 years, 125 days.

Any personnel change at the team would almost certainly involve Jean-Eric Vergne departing, with first-year driver Daniil Kvyat earning praise from the Red Bull hierarchy. However Verstappen is set to face significant competition for the seat, with Formula Renault 3.5 points leader Carlos Sainz Jr. and GP3 star Alex Lynn both vying for a berth with Toro Rosso.