Max Verstappen will race with Toro Rosso in 2015 but even if Red Bull have a superstar on their hands they risk his long-term career by rushing him into F1 too quickly. Verstappen might be better off racing in GP2 for a season because there is evidence to suggest an extra year of preparation is very beneficial.
Lewis Hamilton and Marc Marquez are two great examples of the value of competing in junior categories. Both enjoyed instant success at the top level of racing because they took their time getting there. Hamilton was forced to spend an extra season in Formula 3 (McLaren wouldn’t let him move out of a category until he won it) whilst Marquez opted to stay in Moto2 during 2012 despite the opportunity to move upwards. Those extra years of development allowed Hamilton and Marquez to make the most of their potential and shine on the world stage when they arrived.
On the flip side of the coin are young stars that don’t get the chance to fully develop their skills. One current example is arguably Kevin Magnussen. Although hugely talented, Magnussen hasn’t looked as comfortable in Formula One as many expected and McLaren’s bosses are yet to extend his contract. A season of GP2 in 2014 might’ve been better for his long-term career prospects. Formula One is too unforgiving for it to be treated as a finishing school.
Max Verstappen is only 16 years old so time is on his side. There is no need to rush him, so why not prepare him? He might be ready for F1 but he might not be ready to succeed. A year of GP2 isn’t going to make him a worse driver is it?