Four reasons why Max Verstappen has signed for another four years at Red Bull

By Sports Desk January 07, 2020

Max Verstappen has committed his Formula One future to Red Bull, taking him off the driver market.

The 2021 season is when new technical regulations come into the sport but the Dutchman has joined Ferrari's Charles Leclerc in staying with his current team beyond that date.

Verstappen had previously been linked with a switch to Mercedes, with the long-term futures of a host of top F1 names like Lewis Hamilton, Valtteri Bottas and Sebastian Vettel still unclear.

Here, we look at why Verstappen, who has been with Red Bull for four seasons, has opted to stay at with the team for another four until 2023. 
 

Progress of Honda

Gone are the days when the Honda engine was the laughing stock of the grid and Mercedes' power unit was dominant. 

Ferrari were on top in that department last year and, at many tracks, Honda had made huge strides and were right there with them, with Verstappen's win in Austria being the manufacturer's first since 2006.

With their issues supplying McLaren now a distant memory, Verstappen clearly has faith Honda will continue their progress, which could be a decisive factor for the next championship and beyond once the new regulations arrive.

"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," Verstappen said when his new deal was announced on Tuesday.
 

His results are better every year

After joining Red Bull while the 2016 season was ongoing, Verstappen has made clear progress across his three complete campaigns with the team.

His first full year saw him finish sixth in the drivers' championship, registering four podiums and two victories.

More consistency followed in 2017 as he racked up 11 top-three finishes along with two wins en route to a fourth-place finish.

Last year, only the Mercedes pair of Hamilton and Bottas finished ahead of the 22-year-old as he won a career-best three races, as well as recording his first two pole positions.

Undisputed number one

While the struggles of Pierre Gasly early in the 2019 season occasionally left Verstappen outnumbered and at a tactical disadvantage in races, there are also benefits to being an undisputed number one.

Leclerc and Vettel have disagreed over strategy and even took each other out in Brazil, while Hamilton and Nico Rosberg's relationship at Mercedes was problematic.

Verstappen may have an able team-mate in Alex Albon going forward but at least for now he is the more experienced and established driver. 

It does not look like he will be having any internal squabbles and, if he is in the 2020 title race against other teams, can be given strategic priority by Red Bull while their rivals are trying to appear fair.
 

Red Bull have done the job before

Mercedes have been the top team in F1 during the hybrid era, but Red Bull and their management team have proven they have the structure to deliver success.

Team principal Christian Horner and chief technical officer Adrian Newey are long-serving figureheads who helped Vettel to four consecutive world titles between 2010 and 2013.

With Honda improving and the Red Bull chassis always one of the best, Verstappen must have faith that the team he has worked so closely with can take him to the next level, as they did with Vettel.

"Red Bull believed in me and gave me the opportunity to start in Formula One, which I have always been very grateful for," added Verstappen.

"I want to win with Red Bull and our goal is of course to fight for a world championship together."

Related items

  • Hamilton and Wolff relaxed over F1 champion's Mercedes future amid 'crazy' speculation Hamilton and Wolff relaxed over F1 champion's Mercedes future amid 'crazy' speculation

    Lewis Hamilton is still in no rush to enter contract talks with Mercedes amid "crazy" speculation over his future.

    The six-time Formula One world champion is in the final year of his deal and continues to be linked with a move to Ferrari.

    Hamilton reiterated that he is not in a hurry to hold negotiations with the Silver Arrows, but expects to get around the table in the near future as the 35-year-old prepares to start the defence of his title next month.

    "We haven't sat down and talked yet," said the Briton as he and Mercedes boss Toto Wolff talked to Sky Sports F1.

    "It's crazy because there's all these talks in the media and everything.

    "I have a certain approach normally in the sense that I don't stress. I trust Toto and we have that trust between us.

    "We have told each other basically what our goals are, and what our aims are, and our commitments and so I don't ever feel there's necessarily always a rush.

    "But sometimes Toto's like 'is everything okay?'. So we always keep the channel open and I'm sure in the near future we'll start to sit down. But I don't feel stressed."

    Team principal Wolff is also relaxed about Hamilton's future.

    The German said: "I texted Lewis the other day and [said] I'm reading all these comments in the press about our negotiations and that Lewis is asking for so much money – we have never talked about it. It's all made up.

    "Then I said maybe we should sit down one day and have the chat. But I think I know so well where he's going to go, you know where I am, it's about finding a day where we spend a few hours together. That's what we've done in the past."

  • F1's Australian GP to go ahead despite coronavirus concerns, minister says F1's Australian GP to go ahead despite coronavirus concerns, minister says

    Formula One's season-opening Australian Grand Prix will go ahead as planned despite coronavirus concerns, the government of Victoria has confirmed.

    Ferrari and Alpha Tauri are based in northern Italy, where cases of infection have this week surged to 400.

    The global outbreak – which originated in China and caused the postponement of April's race in Shanghai – has prompted speculation about the suitability of staging the opening grands prix, the first of which is scheduled to take place in Melbourne on March 15.

    However, Victoria's minister for tourism, sport and major events Martin Pakula said the event will run to plan.

    "Melbourne is the only city in the world to host a Formula One race and a grand slam tennis tournament, and we look forward to the grand prix celebrating 25 years at Albert Park on March 15," said Pakula.

    F1 will head to Bahrain the following weekend, with the inaugural Vietnam Grand Prix third on the calendar.

     

    Chase Carey, the chief executive of F1, has no doubts the events will go ahead despite there being coronavirus cases in the countries.

    "The Vietnam Grand Prix will take place on April 5 at Hanoi, and to anticipate another question, we do plan to proceed with the race," he said during a conference call this week.

    "I talked to our Vietnamese partners, and I plan to stop in Hanoi on March 16 on my way back to London from Australia, and all systems are a go. 

    "Other than China, I guess, again, with a particular focus on the races beginning of the year, they're all going.

    "We're heading to Melbourne, heading to Bahrain, heading to Hanoi. Although, to state the obvious, we've got to see what evolves in the coming days."

  • Leclerc rise has Vettel in 'really difficult' Ferrari situation, says Rosberg Leclerc rise has Vettel in 'really difficult' Ferrari situation, says Rosberg

    Charles Leclerc's rise at Ferrari has put Sebastian Vettel in a challenging and difficult situation for the 2020 season, according to Nico Rosberg.

    Rosberg, the only man apart from Lewis Hamilton to win a Formula One world championship since the last of Vettel's four titles in 2013, believes his fellow German's struggles pre-date the 2019 campaign.

    But the sensational debut Ferrari season from Leclerc has brought the future of Vettel into the spotlight, with his contract having only a year left to run.

    Leclerc earned seven pole positions and two race wins last year to finish ahead of his more experienced team-mate, who has just one victory in his last 29 attempts, in the drivers' standings.

    Rosberg feels if anyone can bounce back from such a predicament it is a driver of Vettel's calibre, but he acknowledged how tough the situation is for the 32-year-old.

    "We must not forget that he also had a very tricky 2018, so it is not just last year, it has been a string of years now," Rosberg, Heineken's 'When You Drive, Never Drink' ambassador, told Stats Perform.

    "It's not an easy situation for him because he is such a great driver.

    "He is also one of the best of all time, but now he is finding himself in a very challenging situation with an unbelievably fast young team-mate, who is also getting more and more support internally from his team.

    "So it is really a difficult one for Sebastian, but if one guy can do it and bounce back from that, then it is him, because he has all the confidence, all the experience, he has the speed."

    Rosberg feels one of the most significant storylines to watch this season will be how Ferrari manage the rivalry between their two drivers.

    Tension over team strategy developed between them over the course of 2019, culminating in a Brazil collision that caused a double retirement. 

    "It is so exciting to see how that is going to play out internally," added Rosberg.

    "It is going to be hugely challenging for Ferrari to manage that because last year it was much easier. It was very clear - Sebastian was the number one and Charles was the number-two driver. 

    "As soon as that started to be debated internally, that is when the problems started, around Monza. Both will be equal number-ones in the team going into the season and that is going to be super interesting to watch."

    Looking ahead to this year's title race, Rosberg - the 2016 world champion - tipped Leclerc and Max Verstappen to challenge strongly, adding: "The biggest threat [to Hamilton] really depends on the cars.

    "I believe that Red Bull and Ferrari really might step it up this year and go on level playing terms with Mercedes. That would be amazing, we would be glued to the TV, it would be so cool – and it is possible.

    "If that's the case, then the biggest threats - looking at last year - will be Verstappen and Leclerc, but you definitely cannot count out [Valtteri] Bottas and Vettel either."

    Rosberg was speaking following the launch of Heineken's 'When You Drive, Never Drink' campaign, for which he has starred in a TV commercial alongside his father, fellow F1 world champion Keke Rosberg.

    "It was such a huge pleasure to do the filming with my dad," said Nico Rosberg, who has been a road safety ambassador for several years.

    "And then integrated into that we have the total abstinence message to help save lives, because total abstinence is the only way to do it. One drink is already one drink too much [if you are driving].

    "The latest campaign conveys a really powerful message that, regardless of whether you’re a professional driver or not, abstinence behind the wheel is the only option."

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.