Opinion: Has Max Verstappen made the right decision to stay at Red Bull until 2023

07-01-2020 14:24
by Bevan Youl
General
Opinion: Has Max Verstappen made the right decision to stay at Red Bull until 2023

So, Max Verstappen will be driving for Aston Martin Red Bull Racing for another four seasons after signing a contract keeping him there until the end of the 2023 season. But going into the new era of regulations from 2021 has he made the right decision to stay loyal?

2019 was Verstappen’s best season to date, finishing third behind MercedesLewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas, picking up three wins and two pole positions whilst maturing as a driver after taking on the senior role at Red Bull.
 
But it had been up in the air where the 22-year old would end up driving from 2021 with speculation that he could join either the Silver Arrows or Ferrari with seats available, of which Verstappen has chosen to ignore.
 
Part of that decision is no doubt down to Honda. The Japanese manufacturer proved themselves massively to Red Bull and Verstappen the past two years, firstly with Toro Rosso, and their ability to develop the power unit enough to compete with Mercedes and Ferrari throughout 2019.
 
Honda have committed to stay in Formula 1 until the end of 2021, the year where the huge overhaul of regulations come into effect for closer racing as well as a $175m budget cap for car development.
 
But could those regulations changes be a blow to Red Bull and Verstappen? The aim of 2021 is to bring the field closer together and allow cars to follow one another easier, a great positive for midfield teams.
 
We’ve seen Renault on the rise the past few years since their return, with ambitions of reaching the top again soon and, being a works team, it wouldn’t be surprising to see them achieve it.
 
McLaren have finally sorted themselves out with a Renault engine after a difficult period with Honda, but from 2021 will be powered by Mercedes once again, a partnership that has proved successful in the past.
 
As brilliant as it would be to see Mercedes, Ferrari, Red Bull, McLaren and Renault battling it out it might leave Verstappen with 2020 as his only chance for a title should he be provided with a good enough car.
 
But if the 22-year old had elected to move to Mercedes or Ferrari it could have ended in team dynamic disaster.
 
Charles Leclerc is a Scuderia driver until the end of 2024, and a partnership between the both of them would be a recipe for chaos, something the Dutchman and Ferrari don’t need.
 
It would be a similar scenario at Mercedes too. Rumours have flown round about Hamilton joining Ferrari but there would no doubt be heat in the garage if the 22-year old was partnered with the six-time World Champion.
 
So, realistically staying at Red Bull is the best decision Verstappen could have made due to the team constantly backing him and having faith in him, whilst avoiding the possibility of a toxic environment for the next few years.
 
But whether Red Bull can provide a good enough car this year and become a dominant force from 2021 will prove vital for whether he made the right decision for his goal in winning World Championships.
 
The Dutchman clearly has faith, but if Leclerc and Ferrari are winning back to back championships, or Mercedes are still dominating, or Renault and McLaren have shocked everyone thanks to regulations changes it would be no surprise to see a frustrated Verstappen in a few years time.

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