One of the lesser talking points of the Hungarian Grand Prix weekend was the presence of stand-out F3 European Championship rookie Max Verstappen in the F1 paddock.

The Dutch youngster's instant impact in his first season of single-seater racing - he currently lies second in the points standings after taking no fewer than seven race wins - was always likely to attract the attention of the top flight and, coupled with his heritage, saw him invited to watch the Hungarian race from the Red Bull pit, along with former F1 pilot father Jos.

While playing down the significance of his presence, insisting that he was in no rush to link up with an F1 team, Verstappen also confirmed that he had been in talks with Mercedes, amongst others. In the end, however, it was his most visible suitor that won out, with the 16-year old being confirmed as the latest Red Bull Junior ahead of this weekend's F3 European Championship round at the Nurburgring.

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"It goes without saying that I am very happy and feel honoured to join the Red Bull Junior Team, which has already brought many drivers to be successful in F1," the Van Amersfoort Racing prot?g? confirmed, "I have been in contact with Red Bull since 2010 and now I [have] signed a long-term deal with them. To now be a part of this successful team represents a nice appreciation of my achievements so far and feels great. It's an important step in my career and I hope it will take me closer to making my dream to race for Red Bull in F1."

Having already completed 30 laps at the Red Bull Ring Verstappen emphasisd the benefit of a role that will allow him to test in higher classes such as World Series by Formula Renault 3.5 but, with Daniel Ricciardo becoming the second Red Bull Junior to make it to the brand's F1 team - joining team-mate Sebastian Vettel in achieving that goal - and the likes of Daniil Kvyat attracting praise for his debut grand prix season, Verstappen's performance clearly marks him out as potentially going all the way with his new supporters.

"We always are watching the FIA Formula 3 European Championship closely," Red Bull motorsport consultant Dr Helmut Marko explained, "This season, we were particularly impressed by Max's performances and we are happy that he accepted our offer. Max suits our team perfectly. He still is very young but incredibly quick - and he has got a fantastic character."

Verstappen heads into this weekend's F3 European Championship event - where he will debut in Red Bull colours - trailing Lotus prospect Esteban Ocon by 94 points with three triple-header events remaining.