Max Verstappen Was So Young When He Joined Formula 1 That He Couldn’t Legally Drive a Car

Auto racing is a dangerous sport, and you often need a lot of experience to get to the top levels of the sport. Sometimes, though, a young driver is such a prodigy that he finds success early in his career. In many of those cases, the young driver is part of a family legacy in the sports with older relatives who were stars in the racing world and helped train them.

That is what happened with Max Verstappen, who joined Formula 1 as a teenager and has quickly become a top driver on the circuit after following in his father’s footsteps.

Max Verstappen’s racing background

The Guardian profiled Verstappen early in his racing career. When he joined Formula 1 as a 17-year-old, he wasn’t even legally able to drive a car because he had not yet received his license due to his age.

The day he turned 18, Verstappen passed his driving test on his first try and happily tweeted “Legal to drive, born to race #driverlicense.” Verstappen expanded on his joy over getting his license on his website, writing that “it’s a relief to pass the test. I was a bit nervous to make mistakes, but the exam went well.”

He has racing in his blood; dad Jos had a few stints as an F1 driver from 1994-2003, reaching the podium twice in 107 races — limited success that Max quickly passed. Jos isn’t the only relative with a history in racing.

Max’s mom Sophie previously competed in karting and a cousin competed in endurance racing and is a two-time NASCAR Whelen Euro Series champion.

Max Verstappen’s early success in F1

Considering that Verstappen was 17 when he started driving in F1, it shouldn’t be surprising to learn that he was the youngest driver the circuit has ever had.

A lot of people felt Verstappen was too young to race when he began his career and felt that Formula 1 should change its criteria to require all drivers to be at least 18.

But Verstappen’s success at a young age pushes back on that idea. He became F1’s youngest driver to score points when he finished seventh in just his second race on the circuit.

In 2016 — a year after he becomes F1’s youngest full-time driver — Verstappen won the Spanish Grand Prix — becoming the youngest driver in history to win a Formula 1 Grand Prix. He holds other F1 records as the youngest driver to accomplish certain milestones, which include:

  • The youngest driver to lead a lap at a Formula 1 Grand Prix
  • The youngest driver to set the fastest lap during a Formula 1 Grand Prix
  • The youngest driver to qualify for the podium
  • The youngest multiple Grand Prix winner

Career to date and net worth


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At just 23, Max Verstappen is still relatively young to be driving on the Formula 1 circuit, but that hasn’t stopped him to continue to be successful when he hits the track. In 119 career races, Verstappen has had the pole position three times and has 10 wins on his resume, along with 42 podium finishes.

He finished third in points on the circuit in 2020, a season which included his most recent win — at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix in December. While F1 drivers don’t necessarily enjoy the same financial success as top stars in leagues like the NFL or the NBA, there is still money to be made in racing — and Verstappen is making plenty of it.

Celebrity Net Worth estimates the driver’s net worth to be $60 million, with a lot more earning potential ahead of him as he continues his F1 career.