Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Circuit of the Americas, 2019

Verstappen signs new three-year deal with Red Bull

2020 F1 season

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Max Verstappen has extended his contract to drive for Red Bull.

The 22-year-old, who joined the team from Toro Rosso in 2016, has agreed a three-year extension to his previous deal, keeping him at Red Bull until the end of 2023.

“I am really happy to have extended my partnership with the team,” said Verstappen. “Red Bull believed in me and gave me the opportunity to start in Formula 1 which I have always been very grateful for.”

Verstappen won his first race for the team after his sudden promotion to Red Bull ahead of the 2016 Spanish Grand Prix. He won three races for them last year, in their first season with Honda power units.

“Over the years I have grown closer and closer with the team and besides the passion from everyone and the on-track performance it is also really enjoyable to work with such a great group of people,” he said.

“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. I respect the way Red Bull and Honda work together and from all sides everyone is doing what they can to succeed. I want to win with Red Bull and our goal is of course to fight for a world championship together.”

Verstappen is the fourth driver to confirm who he will be driving for in 2021.

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner said the new deal was “fantastic news” for the team.

“With the challenge of the 2021 regulation changes on the horizon continuity in as many areas as possible is key,” said Horner. “Max has proven what an asset he is to the team, he truly believes in the partnership we have forged with our engine supplier Honda, and we are delighted to have extended our relationship with him.”

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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73 comments on “Verstappen signs new three-year deal with Red Bull”

  1. Didn’t see that one coming so soon… Would have thought that it would be around july/august for a confirmation.

      1. Keith, I’m sure both Max and Horner have their spies at Ferrari who give them detailed info long before any announcements are made in the press.
        If only Agatha Christie were alive today, she would have cooked something up with spies, drivers, agents, principals, and an early morning murder in the paddock.

        1. Doesn’t matter what kind of spies they have if they don’t know Leclerc’s decision.

      2. Since it never really looked all that likely that Lewis would change team, I think it’s not all that unexpected that these top drivers sign with the top teams they are with.
        New rules coming in surely means these three teams are likely to be on top of the pile for another few years. And when one can be reasonably satisfied at the team they are in there really is no good reason to change, instead working at managing the 2021 rules as best as possible.

        1. I’m not surprised at all, as I was opining all along that Max should and would stay at RBR for a good stretch of time, well before the news of CL’s contract extension and not hinging on other driver decisions within F1. ie. I don’t believe for a second that Max made this decision because of CL.

          Anyway great and exciting news and I think Max/RBR/Honda/Newey are going to be a force to be reckoned with. A major force.

          1. It might have made the negotiations a tad more straightforward (by taking out the “but I have got offers both from Ferrari AND from Mercedes” negotiation line) @robbie, but I agree that Max was about as likely to get out at RBR at this point as Lewis is to get out at Mercedes or Leclerc was to jump ship at Ferrari.

          2. @bascb Yeah even without the extension CL signed, I did not think anything other than that he would be at Ferrari for some time yet. LH? I really don’t see why he would leave Mercedes until at a minimum 2022. We know he’s at Merc this year, and why wouldn’t he stay with family (the dynasty) for the revolutionary changes in case he is still in the benchmark car for the new chapter. Then who knows, but given his age I lean towards him leaving F1 and Mercedes at the same time in 4 or 5 years time.

      3. It also suggests that Horner had Max signed up already and that he knew Leclerc was tied up as well. We can also conclude, contrary to racefans leclerc article that Ferrari was not trying to “stir” anything, simply put teams found the off season the most adequate time to deal with contracts and they chose to announce the deals just after the holidays. They couldn’t have done this in a more low key way. Well, press needs to sensationalize

  2. Could it be a sign Mercedes is quitting F1 after 2020? Maybe they have more info?

    1. G (@unklegsif)
      7th January 2020, 11:31


    2. If only they were..

      1. G (@unklegsif)
        7th January 2020, 12:54

        Why, just because they have done a better job than everyone else?

        All that would do is let off the other teams who have NOT done as good a job, and reward them for NOT improving, rather than them raising their own game to beat Mercedes. As a neutral, I for one would rather see McLaren, RB or Ferrari beat Mercedes fair and square, than Mercedes pull out and defacto leave the “second best” team to win

        1. you obviously didn’t delve to much into F1 the past few years. Merc did do a great job with new rules, but then rule makers locked down development and ensured no one could touch Merc’s dominance..for six years…and probably 7 with the last year of this rules package starting in 2 months. Merc always has a ‘bad’ race when the noise of their dominance is loudest…’not sure why we were so off pace this weekend” then proceed to go back to second(s) per lap ahead.
          When a team has a significant advantage, other teams must overdrive their cars while Lewis is running a nice secure 85-90% push rate to keep everyone at bay. I’ve been watching F1 since the 70’s and the hybrid era is the worst of all time by a big margin. We don’t even get a teammate battle, just the formality of crowning Lewis champion…again

          1. Merc started the hybrid era with a second (sometimes even third) fastests chassis and a rocketship of the engine end ends it with the best chassis and slowest top speed of all the top teams. Yeah, sounds like locked down rules there.

          2. Conspiratorial nonsense

          3. G (@unklegsif)
            8th January 2020, 8:48

            balderdash I am afraid – and I too have been watching for 30+ years (Ok so you may have another few years on me, but this isn’t a willy waving “I’ve been watching longer so know more than you” competition

    3. Why? The fact they took their time with Lewis re-signing – not rushing things over the holidays – should rather be taken as a sign that what both he and Wolf mentioned in December about likely continuing together for another few years is reality.

    4. Yes, very likely Mercedes will stop after 2020. They need to if they want to survive as a company. It requires making choices. Green and responsible choices. This means Formula E and all production cars electric or hydrogen. Its inevitable.

  3. 5th driver who is out of silly season.

  4. Adam (@rocketpanda)
    7th January 2020, 10:53

    Not surprised he stayed with Red Bull, but probably surprised the announcement came so early. Given the uncertainty over Mercedes and Ferrari clinging on to Leclerc it makes sense for him to stay where he is. I’d have thought he was one of the major names that would instigate big seat changes but if he’s staying put… silly season isn’t going to be as silly as we thought. It’s literally now just whether Hamilton and Vettel will stay or retire.

    1. Hamilton is settled in at Mercedes, just they are in no hurry to put out news now. Vettel, yeah, we’ll see whether he sticks around after this season.

    2. Not surprising, made me smile drinking my morning coffee. Red Bull have been nothing but good to Max and he has been great in return. He wants to dethrone the Big 2. Sure Max can win races, but Red Bull has not been up to the task of challenging for a title. He wants to win with Red Bull, then when this contract is up, he is still only 25. His best years should still be firmly in front of him. No reason to rush into Ferrari or Merc yet. Great drivers also build great teams…Ayrton, Lewis, Michael, and now it appears Max. It helps that the greats are great of course, but driving is only one part, feedback and building a winning team is huge. No one ever speaks of Schumi’s dedication to the teams he drove for and time spent in the factory. One reason people back in the day loved Michael was he wore his heart on his sleeve…and knowing it was true emotion. His smile and reactions to winning was never contrived.
      Max is the real deal, years from now we will put him in a small circle of the greatest to drive in F1.

      1. You could pretty much subtract 10 years from this statement and insert Vettel in for Max. If Max realizes the same result that Vettel was able to enjoy from his three year extension, both parties will be quite happy.

      2. What a load of tosh, Verstappen has thrown away several wins and even more podiums with his crash prone driving, and that is even without being properly punished for his constant crashing into competitors.

        1. fiction or fact, i like to see your constant crashing into competitors facts…..

  5. Fairly expected. Toto would have made a firm offer to Max if and only if Lewis gives a clear indication that he is going to Ferrari/Red Bull or he is retiring. Most probably, Lewis must not have given any indication to Toto of this (why would he? what is there for him to gain?). Hence, Toto won’t make any firm offer.

    With Ferrari, they already have Charles locked down. There is little to gain by getting another top driver (at a high salary) one year in advance. It also risks having an already error-prone as well as a disheartened Seb in the seat for 1 full year. Which means Max has only 1 good seat. And he has rightly taken it.

    The biggest winner from this is IMO George Russell. He is now the future for Mercedes. All he has to do is dominate Latifi. And his track record for last 2 years shows he is quite capable of doing that.

    1. The biggest winner from this is IMO George Russell. He is now the future for Mercedes. All he has to do is dominate Latifi. And his track record for last 2 years shows he is quite capable of doing that.

      If ocon does well against ricciardo it is not so simple. Ricciardo is much better than latifi so beating a tougher benchmark would help ocon a lot more than it helps russell beating latifi. What russell needs is to get out of that williams as quickly as possible. With the poor car and team mates he is just wasting time. Even if he beats latifi in the weakest car then all you can ask is how good is latifi in f1 car?

      1. @socksolid Ocon isn’t a Mercedes-driver anymore. He’s a 100% Renault-driver as of this year with Mercedes having zero control/rights on him, as Cyril explained ahead of the Belgian GP following the move-announcement. Sainz was at Renault solely on-loan, but Ocon isn’t.

        1. @jerejj That’s only true for the duration of his contract. Mercedes can recall him after 2021 if they so wish.

          1. @mashiat Yes, but the point is that they don’t have control over him anymore, so him becoming a Mercedes race-driver isn’t up to them anymore, which is still the case with Russell. Of course, he could join them (again) once his Renault-contract expires, but it’d then just be a case of a driver moving to another team for the sake of it, not for being a specific team/manufacturer-backed driver.

          2. Unless things change really weirdly it would make no sense for ocon to stay at renault if mercedes would want him. And who knows what kind of contract ocon has with renault. There could be performance clauses for both sides that can be triggered if the other party is not getting good enough results.

    2. Russell will easily dominate Latifi, his true test will be in defeating Bottas, who is a much bigger talent then is given credit for.

      Ocon is not the real deal, he is a fraud.

      1. Cristiano Ferreira
        8th January 2020, 2:01

        He can only defeat Bottas if Hamilton steps down from Mercedes and i dont see that happening anytime soon. Bottas is the one that risks being dropped if he doesn’t deliver.

  6. Since Ferrari locked the door by signing Leclerc, Verstappen signing with RedBull means Mercedes drivers situation is also set: Hamilton will sign an extension to drive under the new regulations.

    Either that or Daimler may pull out of F1 and Verstappen Sr didn’t want to take chances…

    It’s of course a very good argument to convince Honda to stay until 2025. What a chess game happens in the background. And all we see is around 4 hours every other weekend.

    Is Netflix waiting for some other development to release season 2? Common!!! Hurry up!!! :-)

    1. Is Netflix waiting for some other development to release season 2?

      The first season was released just before Melbourne 2019.
      I doubt the editors will be a lot quicker this season, especially as one of the purposes of the series is to warm up the crowd for the new season.

      1. @coldfly Thanks for the reminder! February it is!
        I hope they don’t sanitize it. Of course there’s going to be some acting, but seeing Abiteboul give Horner a hard time by saying “now you have no engine and no driver” after he signed Ricciardo was priceless… Hope they keep the tone up.

  7. Surprising. Will definitely have various clauses for getting out easily, but even so surprising. His value at the end of 2020 would have likely been sky high.

    1. @hahostolze My thoughts too. The get-out clauses must be many and varied.

      Maybe it really was about ensuring Honda staying on, more than Verstappen..

  8. It just makes sense. 2021 is going to be so different that people can’t use 2020 to gauge how a team is likely to perform in 2021. He’s at team who’s aero is always there, is renowned for doing well when regulations change, is 100% focused around him. The engines are converging, and cars are more likely to be able to race so if Red Bull aren’t out in front of everyone else, he’ll believe his natural talent will be enough to get him to the top. Why move?

    1. GtisBetter (@)
      7th January 2020, 12:02

      I agree. 2022 we will know more about which team is the best and then after 2023 he knows if he has any chance of a WDC. If not he switches to the team that he has the most chance with.

    2. Renowned when regulation changes occurred??

      Have you not been watching the last several years?

      They were left wanting at the current changes and barely stacked up to the rules prior to they’re 4-year high point with Vettel and Weber.

      They threatened to leave the sport because they couldn’t work with Renault to develop an engine and could not get a deal with with any other supplier.

      1. JJ81f1 Renault themselves have not produced a good enough Pu, and still as a factory team have not been able to make noticeable ground. How was their customer RBR to do that? They did their best but even Newey can’t perform a miracle and make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear. Perhaps look up Newey’s CV…his list of successes…and then I’m sure you will understand their downfall in this current hybrid era has had far more to do with Renault being subpar, than Newey dropping the ball. Couldn’t work with Renault? Of course they worked as hard and as well as they could for as long as they could until it just became obvious that Renault’s numerous promises of progress were constantly falling short. RBR couldn’t make the Pu for them. Meanwhile Honda, in one season with RBR, is indeed showing progress and from all we hear are having a much better healthier relationship than had become season after season of disappointment at Renault’s lagging.

    3. @3dom Agreed and well said. As I said above the combo of RBR/Honda/Max/Newey is a highly potent one and I predict great things to come from them.

  9. It also raises the question of how much the car is now designed around a specific driver. Surely with all ongoing optimization, one “team” could gain a few tenths in ultimate lap time by designing the car around the driving style of their main driver instead of “general” driving style. Then provide data to second driver to try and match the lead one.

    This could explain (part of) some gaps between team mates.

      1. @jeanrien
        Designers design the fastest car possible, regardless of who drives the car.
        It’s up to drivers to adapt their driving to suit the car, and some of the drivers master that trick a lot better than other drivers; and that explains “(part of) some gaps between team mates.”

        1. @Rik ”some of the drivers master that trick a lot better than other drivers”
          – And that especially applies to Gasly.

  10. Ok so he may be the one that got away. I’d be staggered if he has a consistently winning car before or after the rule changes in 2021. But he will have clauses I guess, as he did this year.

    But a bit like the sport itself no one likes taking risks anymore. Think of Ron Dennis what you will but he had the brass clankers to put 2 greats together and effectively create a now legendary period in F1. These guys wouldn’t cross a road unless empirical testing was done first by 300 data engineers back at base.

  11. Surely this increases Russell’s chances of inheriting a seat at Merc?

    1. @AM@AM Yes.

    2. Don’t think it changes a thing for Russell. If he’s good enough.. He’ll replace Bottas anyways.

  12. Just leaves 2-3 seats left before the dominoes all fall into place.

    Will HAM retire?
    Will BOT be kept?
    Will VET be replaced?

    I guess all eyes will be on VET during the early part of the season. If LEC starts to dominate him, then you would think that would be it for VET. Maybe RIC in 2021 for Ferrari?

    Also what are Red Bull going to do with that 2nd seat. Albon is barely ok.

    RIC needs to get out of Renault and either go to Ferrai, McClaren or even back to Red Bull. (I don’t think he would be the right fit for Merc)

    1. Hamilton will sign a Mercedes contract. I think Bottas is likely to get another deal too. Vettel, yeah, he’s on his way out i’d guess. Maybe he can be Max’s number two?

      Ricciardo will just have to get that Renault places Ocon cannot get it to. Although he might get in the Ferrari as a neat support driver to Charles. Red Bull won’t take him, and I don’t see why he would like being Max’ support driver himself. Red Bull will find someone, as I mentioned, maybe Seb can get in there for a while again.

      McLaren have Sainz and Norris, they don’t need Ricciardo now. Had he signed for them, yeah, that might have been a better place to be than where he is now. But why would McLaren change their lineup now?

      1. @bascb ”maybe Seb can get in there for a while again”
        – Very unlikely, though, given that it’s been 13 years since RB last took a driver from elsewhere than the B-team.

        1. Fair enough @jerejj. I thought, since he used to be the chosen one, and Marko even used Kvyat bumping him out as an excuse to downgrade Daniiel to get Max in, they might consider him if he came asking.

          But yeah, reality is, Vettel has no place there either

      2. Although he might get in the Ferrari as a neat support driver to Charles.

        Ricciardo compared favourably to Verstappen- what makes you think he couldn’t handle Charles? See its one thing being
        quicker than the other guy- F1 is about more than just outright speed. There are countless examples of the “slower”
        guy beating a faster team mate throughout a season.

        I guess what I’m trying to say is if Ricciardo went to Ferrari I dout he would be the bridesmaid to Charles.

  13. Oh dear, that’s another seat Robert Kubica won’t be in come 2021.

  14. There is a performance clause 1000%sure. So Verstappen might still move to Mercedes if Red Bull doesn’t provide a championship winning car.

    1. I would be more interested to see what would happen if Albon started to match Verstappen’s race-pace…that could be funny.

      1. I wouldn’t say funny, more like the start of a super team… If Albon matches Max, then he will have improved his pace greatly, Max is only getting better.

  15. I too am a little surprised this was all agreed so early although I can see it makes sense for all parties. It’s a little dull for the non-aligned spectator though as it probably means all the top teams will keep something very close to their current line-ups.

    I guess the two big uncertainties are what will happen with Seb and who will race alongside Lewis.

    Seb’s best bet at the moment seems to be staying at Ferrari if they want him after 2020. It seems like this or an early retirement at the end of 2020. I cannot really see him wishing to race alongside Max at Red Bull. I expect Merc will either keep Bottas on or maybe go with Russell. They will want someone to take over the lead driver role from Lewis when he eventually retires and I cannot see this being Bottas.

    I am a little disappointed for Daniel as well as I cannot see him being really competitive with the 3 leading teams driving the Renault. Who knows what 2021 will bring though. Maybe he could get a seat at Ferrari alongside Charles if Seb leaves?

    1. I do not think Ricci is in for a “second driver” position at ferrari. His chances are decreasing by the minute and when Renault leaves F1 he will have to settle for a test position or a team in the lower ranks..
      Maybe replacing Kimi for 2021 at “Sauber” ( AR)

  16. Honda is staying then…

    1. Sensible move. If RB can get a hold of 2021,they can develop enough for Max to fight in 2022 or beyond. IF they don’t, he can abandon ship to go to a better team after the front runner has emerged.

  17. What will he do once Honda leaves?

    1. I’d say that is far enough away that it is not a concern. I would suggest Honda may have assured the top brass at RBR including Max, that they want to see this run through while they are getting more and more competitive. I’d say Max’s contract extension goes as far as the minimum time Honda has implied they’ll stay, and then if/when Honda leaves Max will still be highly sought after as he is now, likely moreso, and he’ll move on.

  18. What I desperately want to see are four car teams. This way at least four drivers have a shot at the championship.

  19. So Max is afraid of Joining Lewis at Mercedes then…

    1. Lol ya that’s it. It was solely his decision, and he made it out of fear. Right then.

  20. Such a shame. Verstappen isn’t going to be fighting for a title up until 2024 then.

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