Red Bull "totally confident" Verstappen will stay on

Christian Horner is "totally confident" Max Verstappen will remain at Red Bull team beyond this season, following recent speculation Mercedes is interested in Formula 1's youngest race winner.

Red Bull "totally confident" Verstappen will stay on

Last month Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff laughed off rumours he had been calling Verstappen and the young Dutchman's father Jos in a bid to lure him from Red Bull.

Verstappen, whose contract with Red Bull runs to the end of 2020, has also dismissed the speculation.

"Max has a contract and it's very clear what that position is," said Horner. "I'm totally confident that he'll be here next year."

It has been suggested that Verstappen's contract contains a performance clause that would allow him to leave Red Bull if it cannot fight for the world title with Honda.

He finished third in the season-opening race in Australia, banking Honda's first podium since returning to F1 on its debut with Red Bull.

Verstappen has only finished fourth in the three races since then, but is ahead of Ferrari's Charles Leclerc in the points and only just behind Sebastian Vettel.

"We're at race four and he's 36 points behind [championship leader Valtteri Bottas]," said Horner. "There's a long way to go in this championship and you just have to take things one race at a time.

"Three fourth positions in a row is getting a little it boring now and I think we want to be fighting for the podium again."

Verstappen has been very supportive of Red Bull's new engine partner, which introduced an early upgrade at the most recent race in Azerbaijan.

The frustration Verstappen had whenever Red Bull's previous engine supplier Renault encountered a reliability problem has been replaced by patience.

Verstappen has said he accepts that Honda will need to trigger grid penalties this year in its bid to catch Ferrari and Mercedes.

However, in a recent Q&A with team partner ExxonMobil, Horner said Verstappen's form meant the onus is on the team to produce a better package.

"Max selected another gear since last year's Canadian Grand Prix," said Horner. "The way he drove from that point onwards has been hugely impressive.

"He had a run that came to end in Bahrain of six straight podiums. He also scored the second highest amount of points behind Lewis Hamilton in the second half of last season and he's carried that form through the winter to the start of this year.

"We want to give him the tools that he can take the fight to the Ferraris and Mercedes."

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB15

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB15

Photo by: Joe Portlock / LAT Images

shares
comments
'Imperfect' career prepared Russell for Williams woes

Previous article

'Imperfect' career prepared Russell for Williams woes

Next article

Inside Mick Schumacher's Formula 1 test

Inside Mick Schumacher's Formula 1 test
Load comments
The hidden Ferrari struggle that Sainz’s recent charge put to rest Prime

The hidden Ferrari struggle that Sainz’s recent charge put to rest

Despite appearing to adjust to life as a Ferrari driver with relative ease, it was far from straightforward under the surface for Carlos Sainz. But, having made breakthroughs in rather different routes at the Russian and Turkish races, he’s now targeting even greater feats for the rest of the Formula 1 season

The final throes of Brazil's fleetingly successful F1 team Prime

The final throes of Brazil's fleetingly successful F1 team

Emerson Fittipaldi is better remembered for his Formula 1 world championships and Indianapolis 500 successes than for the spell running his eponymous F1 team. Despite a hugely talented roll call of staff, it was a period of internal strife, limited funding and few results - as remembered by Tim Wright.

Formula 1
Oct 18, 2021
Why McLaren's expanding agenda will benefit its F1 resurgence Prime

Why McLaren's expanding agenda will benefit its F1 resurgence

In the 1960s and 1970s, McLaren juggled works entries in F1, sportscars and the Indy 500 while building cars for F3 and F2. Now it’s returning to its roots, expanding into IndyCars and Extreme E while continuing its F1 renaissance. There’s talk of Formula E and WEC entries too. But is this all too much, too soon? Stuart Codling talks to the man in charge.

Formula 1
Oct 17, 2021
How Tsunoda plans to achieve his F1 potential Prime

How Tsunoda plans to achieve his F1 potential

Yuki Tsunoda arrived in grand prix racing amid a whirlwind of hype, which only increased after his first race impressed the biggest wigs in Formula 1. His road since has been rocky and crash-filled, and OLEG KARPOV asks why Red Bull maintains faith in a driver who admits he isn’t really that big a fan of F1?

Formula 1
Oct 15, 2021
The danger of reading too much into F1's clickbait radio messages Prime

The danger of reading too much into F1's clickbait radio messages

OPINION: After Lewis Hamilton responded to reports labelling him 'furious' with Mercedes following his heated exchanges over team radio during the Russian Grand Prix, it provided a snapshot on how Formula 1 broadcasting radio snippets can both illuminate and misrepresent the true situation

Formula 1
Oct 14, 2021
How F1’s pole winner approach undermines drivers Prime

How F1’s pole winner approach undermines drivers

OPINION: Valtteri Bottas is credited with pole position for the 2021 Turkish Grand Prix, despite being beaten in qualifying. This is another example of Formula 1 and the FIA scoring an own goal by forgetting what makes motorsport magic, with the Istanbul race winner also a victim of this in the championship’s recent history

Formula 1
Oct 13, 2021
Turkish Grand Prix driver ratings Prime

Turkish Grand Prix driver ratings

On a day that the number two Mercedes enjoyed a rare day in the sun, the Turkish Grand Prix produced several standout drives - not least from a driver who has hit a purple patch of late

Formula 1
Oct 11, 2021
The hidden factors that thwarted Hamilton's bid for Turkey glory Prime

The hidden factors that thwarted Hamilton's bid for Turkey glory

Starting 11th after his engine change grid penalty, Lewis Hamilton faced a tough task to repeat his Turkish Grand Prix heroics of 2020 - despite making strong early progress in the wet. Instead, his Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas broke through for a first win of the year to mitigate Max Verstappen re-taking the points lead

Formula 1
Oct 11, 2021