What does the current Red Bull situation mean for the future of Verstappen?

21-01-2021 14:45
General
What does the current Red Bull situation mean for the future of Verstappen?

Despite the fact that there is now at least a 99% deal between Red Bull Racing and Honda about the use of the engines from 2022, it is by no means a certainty that the Austrian racing team can still be admired in Formula 1 after the coming season. At least, if we can believe Helmut Marko. The current situation of course also has consequences for Max Verstappen. We will go through a number of options.

Escape clause

Although Verstappen is still with Red Bull until 2023, there seems to be an escape clause in the Limburger's contract. When Red Bull don't have a competitive engine, Verstappen would have a license to enter into talks with other teams. The key question is whether Honda can deliver a competitive engine for the coming years from 2022.

Red Bull themselves don't have the knowledge and resources to develop further, which is why the engine freeze is so important for the Milton Keynes-based formation. If Ferrari, Renault and Mercedes continue to develop even a little bit, the engine of Red Bull is no longer competitive.

Serving out contract

Serving out the contract is perhaps the most logical choice. In that case, Verstappen will still drive for Red Bull in 2021, 2022 and 2023 and will then have the opportunity to seek refuge in another team. At Ferrari, Charles Leclerc is assured of a spot at least until 2024. At Mercedes, Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas seem to have left by then. George Russell will undoubtedly occupy one of the spots, but for Verstappen, every team keeps their door ajar anyway.

Extend contract

The least likely option is that of a contract extension. Verstappen is fixed until 2023 and since it is still unclear when the new engine regulations will enter the premier class of motorsport (probably 2025) it would be unwise to opt for an even longer commitment with Red Bull. The Austrian formation itself does not yet know which engine they are driving at that time. In any case, it will no longer be a Honda.

The downside is that Verstappen has to choose a new team in 2024, while the new engine formula will only come into effect in 2025. He will then actually have to make the decision about a new employer 'a year too early'. With that in mind, it is not surprising if Verstappen extends his contract for one year until 2024 and then makes a well-considered choice in 2025.

This article was written and originally published by Corwin on the Dutch edition of GPblog.com.

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