Max Verstappen insists his current focus in on the project with Red Bull Racing and Honda amid speculations of his F1 future move.
For a week or two now, Verstappen’s F1 future has been a hot topic with rumours regarding an ‘exit clause’ being shared with not much substance. Whether it is Verstappen or Christian Horner or Dr. Helmut Marko, all have literally laughed off the ideas of an ouster.
The question was repeatedly asked to Verstappen during the Austrian GP. Speculations linked him to a Mercedes drive alongside Lewis Hamilton but Toto Wolff wasn’t buying it with Valtteri Bottas looking likely to remain with outfit after his good performances.
In fact, they already have Esteban Ocon waiting in the wings and so for them to take in Verstappen – even though they had interest in him – will make little sense. At the same time, Ferrari has Charles Leclerc as their future if Sebastian Vettel bows out.
The win in Austria came at the right time for Verstappen and also Red Bull Honda as the Dutchman kept his stance of focusing on the project at hand rather than think about other things. “What do you think, my friend?,” he started, when asked to speak on the clause.
“Of course not! Why would I [speak on an internal matter]? I know, but I don’t care. To be honest, I think it’s more important to see what the team also will bring in upcoming races. I’m not too worried about what’s going to happen next year or even beyond that.
“At the moment I just want to focus on this project because I think there is still a lot of potential and we are just getting started. But like I said, of course, I don’t want to keep driving until I’m 35 or 40, y’know? So we’ll see.”
Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton was asked about having Verstappen as his teammate as well but the British racer was quite diplomatic in his answer. “People are always making up stuff,” he said. “It’s the first I’ve heard of it. I think the team’s pretty happy with Valtteri and me.
“So I do know Max is definitely interested in opportunities. I don’t know, maybe. If there is, then great. I don’t mind driving with you. I’ll drive against whoever.” To which, Verstappen responded: “I guess there’s people who know more than me.”
The line-up for 2020 is looking more towards being a stable one at the front with only real change at Mercedes if they do no re-sign Bottas. Even at Red Bull, there will be question mark over Pierre Gasly whether he stays on the senior team or gets drop to Toro Rosso.