The Belgian-born Dutchman, who turns 17 on September 30, was signed as a Red Bull junior driver only last week, having turned down overtures from Mercedes. He is currently lying second in the European F3 series in his first season in motor racing.
Verstappen's father, Jos, raced in F1 from 1994 to 2003, competing in 106 races. His mother Sophie Kumpen was a karting star in her own right.
“Ever since I was seven years old, Formula One has been my career goal, so this opportunity is truly a dream come true,” said Max.
"We consider Max to be as one of the most skilled young drivers of the new generation," said STR team boss Franz Tost. "And we believe he has the necessary maturity and mental strength to take on this challenge successfully. This year he has already demonstrated how well he can cope under difficult conditions.
"For example, at the Norisring and Nürburgring, he showed extraordinary determination and the ability to withstand pressure before going on to win. Bearing in mind that Scuderia Toro Rosso was created with the aim of bringing young talent from the Red Bull Junior Team into Formula One and to educate them, it will now be up to us to provide Max with a competitive car, which will enable him to have the best possible start to his Formula One career.
“With this in mind, I would also like to thank Jean-Eric Vergne for all his hard work. He has produced strong performances, but unfortunately he was also hindered by some reliability problems, especially in the first half of the current season. We hope that we have resolved these problems and that he will be able to end the second half of this season on a high note and thereby show that he still deserves another opportunity in Formula 1.”