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Marko was worried about losing Verstappen to Mercedes

  • Published on 08 Jan 2020 15:03
  • comments 4
  • By: Fergal Walsh

Red Bull advisor Dr Helmut Marko admits that he was worried about losing Max Verstappen to Mercedes in 2021. 

On Wednesday, the energy drink squad announced that Verstappen signed a multi-year contract that ties him to the team until the end of the 2023 season. 

MOREWhat Verstappen's Red Bull contract extension means for the driver market

Both Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas of Mercedes current contract expires at the end of 2020, as did Verstappen's previous deal, leaving him open to a possible switch.

"I spent the holidays fixing the contract," Marko told Auto Bild. "I was very worried about losing Max to Mercedes in 2021."

It is not known exactly how much Verstappen is earning from his new deal, however Marko commented: "The new contract was not cheap. But I didn't feel like playing poker."

Red Bull want to start Honda negotiations 'soon' 

The Austrian added that the new contract guarantees Verstappen a top engine, which Marko believes Red Bull has in Honda, as the partnership enters its second year.

MOREVerstappen: Red Bull can 'never be satisfied' despite positive 2019 season with Honda | Honda: Verstappen like a young Senna

Marko continued that he is set to enter negotiations with Honda soon over an extended deal, following on from the Japanese manufacturer's decision to supply Red Bull and Toro Rosso with engines until 2021.

"There will be talks with Honda soon," he said to Auto Motor und Sport. "I'm just waiting for an appointment to be able to fly to Japan."

"If the others want to be even better, they will have to develop dramatically. Max knows what's going on at Honda, he has already seen the new car and he values continuity in the team. In the end there was a common desire from him and from us."

Replies (4)

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  • It will all make sense when the size of the contract comes out. Red Bull seem better positioned than Ferrari to move forward. Ferrari is also made it clear that they have their driver for the future while Seb continues to fade. Mercedes may have been a possibility, but not for a couple of years. I am sure Max is now paid as much as any other on the grid except Lewis and Seb. This makes a lot of sense really. A bit dissapointing since I think we would all have liked to see Max go against a proper driver and that won't happen at Red Bull.

    • + 1
    • Jan 8 2020 - 16:53
    • I agree somewhat. I still hope for some shift that'll either make Vettel or Ric return to RBH. I loved RB's earlier setup of 2 strong drivers at once.

      • + 0
      • Jan 10 2020 - 06:58
  • Something tells me, Redbull might not have the championship worthy car in 2020.

    • + 0
    • Jan 9 2020 - 03:34
    • Too early to say. I think they will remain about where they are, so p2/p3, but might get a win here and there.

      • + 0
      • Jan 10 2020 - 06:59

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  • Country Netherlands
  • Date of b. Sep 30 1997 (22)
  • Place of b. Hasselt (Belgie), Netherlands
  • Weight 70 kg
  • Length 1.80 m
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Austria Red Bull Ring
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