Helmut Marko: 'Max Verstappen like Ayrton Senna'

Max Verstappen is compared to F1 great Ayrton Senna by Red Bull's motorsport consultant Dr Helmut Marko.

Red Bull's motorsport consultant Helmut Marko has likened teenager Max Verstappen to Formula 1 legend Ayrton Senna and suggested that the Dutchman possesses the level of talent only seen once in a decade.

The 16-year-old will race for Toro Rosso next season, replacing Jean-Eric Vergne in the Red Bull junior team, and his much-publicised move into the sport at an early age has been met with criticism from some quarters.

However, Marko is convinced that the Austrian outfit's development programme has uncovered a rare gem in Verstappen.

Marko told Formula 1.com: "[He is] Most likely Ayrton Senna and in such a case you must not look at his age. He has been talking with people who are experts when it comes to the development of youngsters and they all say that [in terms of] his mind he is more like 22 than 16.

"Regarding his skills behind the steering wheel, he has been racing since he was four years old - professionally. So we expect him to be competitive from the first race. We are not playing the lottery - we know what we are doing and success proves us right.

"He is an exceptional talent that comes along only once in decades."

Red Bull's driver programme has brought through the likes of Daniel Ricciardo and four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel.

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