In a somewhat surprising turn of events, Max Verstappen has extended his F1 contract to stay with Red Bull Racing until the end of 2023. The Dutch racer has already made a name for himself as a true racer and a tough contender on the grid. Max has been grinding with the factory team since 2016.
Despite lacking the pace of the Mercedes and Ferrari cars, Max has been able to score a fair number of podium results and wins in his time at Red Bull. As a regular viewer of the sport, I have seen him grow from being a talented annoyance to a worrying rival to the likes of Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel. After being a client for Renault engines for many years, Red Bull switched to the Honda power unit in 2019 and surprised all cynics with its strong performance most of the season.
However, it still seems unlikely that Max will have a championship winning car anytime soon. The 2021 F1 rules have decided to stick with the same 1.6-litre turbo-V6 hybrid powertrains, a tech era dominated by Mercedes. While Verstappen has seemingly ended his chance at a seat in Ferrari after openly calling them cheaters, Red Bull have doubled down on their favourite. This will also put pressure on the 22-year old’s young teammate, Alexander Albon, to show his worth as well.
Verstappen said: “I am really happy to have extended my partnership with the Team. Red Bull believed in me and gave me the opportunity to start in Formula 1 which I have always been very grateful for. Over the years I have grown closer and closer with the Team and besides the passion from everyone and the on-track performance it is also really enjoyable to work with such a great group of people. Honda coming onboard and the progress we have made over the last 12 months gives me even more motivation and the belief that we can win together. I respect the way Red Bull and Honda work together and from all sides everyone is doing what they can to succeed. I want to win with Red Bull and our goal is of course to fight for a World Championship together.”
Team Principal Christian Horner explained: “It is fantastic news for the Team to have extended our agreement with Max up-to and including the 2023 season. With the challenge of the 2021 regulation changes on the horizon continuity in as many areas as possible is key. Max has proven what an asset he is to the Team, he truly believes in the partnership we have forged with our engine supplier Honda, and we are delighted to have extended our relationship with him.”
Red Bull’s announcement comes not long after Ferrari signed its own 22-year old till 2024. What are your expectations from F1 with two of the top-six seats finding long-term drivers? Share your thoughts in the comments below and don’t forget to subscribe for the latest updates on more Auto Loons content.