Ferrari has joined Mercedes in admitting its interest in Formula 1 teen sensation Max Verstappen.
He currently drives for Toro Rosso, so if his paymasters want to keep him at the secondary team, Verstappen may become a free agent.
Ilta Sanomat newspaper claims Red Bull is planning to free up a seat for Verstappen by relegating Daniil Kvyat to Toro Rosso for 2017.
That is because not only Mercedes but also Ferrari has a potential seat open for 2017, as Kimi Raikkonen’s deal runs out this year.
“There are several interesting guys and he is one of them,” team boss Maurizio Arrivabene, referring to Verstappen, told Corriere della Sera newspaper in Bahrain.
2007 world champion Raikkonen, however, has not been ruled out of the running.
“He did not get the opportunity to prove anything in Australia,” Arrivabene said.
Normally, Ferrari prefers to rely on more experienced drivers than rookies, although Arrivabene said: “We are willing to open the doors to young talents, but if you make hasty or wrong choices you run the risk of burning careers.”
“It is clear that he has a great future in F1,” Mercedes’ Toto Wolff said recently. “It would be stupid not to consider him as the opportunity arises.
“But at the moment this is not an issue,” added Wolff, referring to the fact that Verstappen, 18, is firmly under long-term contract to Red Bull.
The longevity of that deal, however, reportedly depends on whether the young Dutchman is promoted to Red Bull Racing for 2017.