Much of Formula One is about marketing, including headline-grabbing stunts like recruiting a 16 year old kid with just one season in single-seater racing as your driver.
There were a number of voices raising concern over the imminent arrival of Max Verstappen at Toro Rosso this year. The FIA even changed their super license regulations to ensure someone so young and with so little open wheel racing experience will ever again be seen in Formula One.
Max Verstappen will have the dubious honour of being the individual who spiced up one of the dullest F1 Monaco events for years. Tyre saving from the off was in evidence and as is usual overtaking was at an absolute premium.
The young Dutch driver’s collision with Romain Grosjean brought out the safety car, which sent Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton into melt-down. Verstappen was uninjured, but earned a slap on the wrist five-place grid penalty for the next race and two points on his license.
Felipe Massa is unimpressed by what happened and lays the blame squarely on the shoulders of young Max.
“What happened was very dangerous,” said Massa. “It shows that maybe experience counts in F1.
“And I think to teach this type of accident they need to control it better, because it was very dangerous.
“It was lucky that he was not hurt because he could have been very hurt with what happened.”
“To be honest, he was not in the position to overtake, he was not even near to go inside. He was behind, so to be honest, it was too much what happened, you need to try to overtake when it is possible, not when it is impossible. Especially on the track like this.”
The FIA super license granting system that allowed Max Verstappen into Formula One does have a discretionary element, allowing the FIA to decline a candidate if they feel their application inappropriate.
Felipe Massa raised an interesting observation, when questioning if one so young was badly injured, the media would respond
“I think it was very dangerous for him, to be honest, because he is 17,” said Massa. “If he is hurt then everybody will talk about it.
“They will say, why give the licence to a guy who is 17 and he is doing that?”
Max was clearly fine after what was a heavy impact and will live to fight many more days.
Formula One has seen gung-ho driving from new participants before like Romain Grosjean, Pastor Maldonado and even Lewis Hamilton.
Yet like all the others, Max will be judged at the end of his first F1 season, by what he delivers for Toro Rosso along with his future potential. Verstappen at present is some way from being labelled a ‘Crashtor’, but there are still 13 races to go this year.