Former F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone says that Formula 1 champions won't want to have Max Verstappen as their teammate in the future. Verstappen currently partners Daniel Ricciardo, but will be alongside Pierre Gasly in 2019 as Ricciardo leaves for Renault.
2019 will mark Verstappen's fifth season in Formula 1, despite being just 20 years old. The Dutchman has impressed in his F1 career so far, taking four victories, the latest coming earlier this season at Red Bull's home Grand Prix in Austria.
Verstappen extended his Red Bull contract last year to the end of the 2020 season, but there is reportedly a clause in his contract that will allow him to leave if Red Bull's upcoming partnership with Honda doesn't work out. And if he was to leave, Ecclestone believes that none of the top drivers would want him as a teammate.
“I don’t think any of the World Champions would want to have him in the team,” Ecclestone told Nico Rosberg in the 2016 world champion's ‘Beyond Victory’ podcast. “I think he’d have a bigger job getting a seat in a [leading] team than Fernando [Alonso] has.
“I don’t think Ferrari would welcome him with open arms or Mercedes. Put it this way, you wouldn’t be delighted if you were in a team… forget the word number one but assume you were the top guy in the team and someone says ‘the guy who’s going to drive the other car is Verstappen’. That’s a different story. Sebastian wouldn’t want him, Lewis wouldn’t want him.”
Bahrain International Circuit - Winter testing