Formula One: Max Verstappen signs new and extended Red Bull contract lasting to 2023
Red Bull have shut-down any rumours of the young Dutchman jumping ship in time for 2021 with a new contract deal lasting until the end of the 2023 Season.
7th January 2020
Announcing the new deal today, Verstappen said: "Red Bull believed in me and gave me the opportunity to start in Formula 1 which I have always been very grateful for."
Making his F1 debut for Toro Rosso, Red Bull's junior team, in 2015, Verstappen had an incredible first year of racing scoring 49 points to 12th in the Championship. Being promoted to the senior team at the Spanish GP in 2016, a race where he went onto win, he has gone onto win seven more races. He finished 3rd in the Championship with 278 points last season - only behind the Mercedes duo of Lewis Hamilton and Valterri Bottas.
Verstappen proved himself of a more mature racer last season with his temperament on and off track being kept in control. This was especially important as Red Bull and Honda began their engine partnership whilst there were also changes mid-season as who would be his team-mate. His consistency was also key: only two retirements out of the 21 races and in the 19 races that he completed, all bar one were top five finishes.
The aim for both the driver and team: the World Championship. Verstappen clearly stated his and Red Bull's intentions: "I want to win with Red Bull and our goal is of course to fight for a World Championship together."
This news is massive and more important to Red Bull than it is Verstappen.
A number of key drivers, including Hamilton, Bottas and Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel, are on their last year of their current contracts and with new regulations being implemented in 2021, some drivers are looking for a change.
To secure Verstappen for the immediate future leaves Team Principal Christian Horner with a huge sigh of relief and grinning from ear to ear. If Verstappen decided to part ways, the team would have been left with an experienced top driver. Alexander Albon completed his rookie year last season and while there were highs, he's not ready to take over as team leader.
Following Charles Leclerc's commitment to Ferrari until the end of 2024, Verstappen's contract means that the two biggest stars of the new generation will be locked-in and know each other's plans.
Other drivers who have signed new contracts lasting beyond 2021 are Racing Point's Sergio Perez and Renault's Esteban Ocon.