Red Bull advisor Dr Helmut Marko has confirmed that Max Verstappen is definitely staying at Red Bull in 2020 after reports surfaced that the Dutchman had an exit clause in his contract which would have enabled him to leave the Milton Keynes-based outfit at the end next season.
The clause expired after last weekend’s Hungarian Grand Prix, where Lewis Hamilton snatched victory from the 21-year-old late on to stretch his lead in the Drivers’ Championship to 62 points.
Red Bull fans will be relieved after much speculation that the Dutch superstar could flee to Mercedes thanks to the performance-related exit clause.
“It’s over on Sunday,” Marko explained per planetf1.com.
“The clause exists, and we have deliberately accepted, because it’s the first year with Honda, and there’s been so much speculation about negative results.”
- Toto Wolff: George Russell won't drive for Mercedes in 2020
- Hamilton has no intention of retiring from F1 any time soon
- Grading every F1 driver ahead of the summer break
Verstappen’s teammate Pierre Gasly received criticism from team principle Christian Horner after the Hungarian Grand Prix for battling McLaren and Alfa Romeo, rather than challenging Ferrari.
Marko offered little comfort to the Frenchman, claiming he simply can’t overtake in pressure situations.
“It is incredibly difficult to overtake.”
“At the start he lost the positions, and then there was nothing left he could do.
“He is not the best overtaking man either. It has been seen by others how hard they have been. So yes, lost at the start.”
Marko concluded by stating he couldn’t guarantee that Gasly would retain his seat at Red Bull after the summer break.
“Let’s go to the summer break, then we’ll keep looking.”
Red Bull are notoriously ruthless with drivers who do not perform to the required standard, but the difficulty for them is the lack of obvious candidates who could replace Gasly.
Their Toro Rosso junior team exists to develop young drivers in preparation for Red Bull, with Gasly himself promoted after an impressive debut season with the outfit last year.
However, Toro Rosso has two drivers that on the face of it are unlikely candidates to take the step up.
Russian Daniil Kvyat is experienced, but he has already raced for Red Bull and was dropped after four races of his second season in 2016 and replaced by Verstappen.
Alternatively, they have 23-year-old Anglo-Thai Alexander Albon, who has impressed in his debut season this year, but is still very raw and ideally Horner would like him to gain more experience before jumping up to Red Bull.News Now - Sport News