Max Verstappen offers fresh update on Red Bull future after inspiring Mercedes hope | F1 | Sport

Max Verstappen has insisted that he is ‘happy’ at Red Bull and plans to see out his existing contract, which will keep him with the Milton Keynes-based outfit until the end of 2028.

The Dutchman has consistently been linked with a move to Mercedes over the past couple of months as speculation rages on claiming that he is unhappy with the behind-the-scenes dynamics at Red Bull.

This speculation was amplified ahead of the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix when reports emerged claiming that the Dutchman is willing to wait late into 2024 to commit internally in an act of solidarity with close ally Helmut Marko.

Team principal Christian Horner wants to wrestle power from Marko and Red Bull’s Austrian contingent, but Verstappen is totally loyal to the veteran advisor and has threatened to walk out of the team if he is dismissed.

Speaking to Sky Sports F1 about his future ahead of the Emilia Romagna GP, Verstappen said: “It’s like I say… I’m good, I’m relaxed, I’m happy and my contract is until 2028.”

These comments, if taken at face value, will come as a frustration for Toto Wolff, who is holding out as long as possible in the hope of securing the services of the three-time world champion for 2025 and beyond.

If Mercedes are to have any chance of luring Verstappen to Brackley, they will need to take some considerable steps forward in terms of performance. The Silver Arrows are languishing in P4 in the Constructors’ Championship standings after four rounds of the 2024 campaign.

That said, according to Wolff, it is not only performance that will dictate Verstappen’s next steps. “There are so many factors that play a role for a driver joining,” he explained. “Clearly when you look at it from the most rational point of view, you can say ‘That’s the quickest car in the hands of the quickest driver’.

“But I don’t think this is the only reason you stay where you are. I think for, let’s say simple minds, that might be the only reason why you stay in a car and that’s it but maybe there are more depths for some people that consider other factors too. I think that Max has that. In that respect, are we able to convince him? I don’t think it’s a matter of convincing.

“I think that Max knows motor racing better than anyone, he will take decisions that he feels are good for him. I think a few factors play a role, but he’s the one that is going to trigger some more domino stones to fall in afterwards. Everybody is waiting for what he’s going to do.”

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