June 20, 2024
Max Verstappen

Max Verstappen continues to be linked with a surprise move to Mercedes.

Toto Wolff has made no secret of his desire to sign Verstappen, having identified the 26-year-old as his top target to replace Lewis Hamilton next year. The news of Adrian Newey’s impending departure from Red Bull has fuelled rumours that Verstappen could follow suit before his contract is due to expire.

Discussing the possibility of Verstappen leaving Red Bull on Sky Sports F1, Brundle suggested that he might already have an ‘exit card’ that would allow him to move elsewhere if he loses faith in his current team.

“It’s a bigger picture than that and it’s really complex,” said Brundle. “Max said it – making a decision to move, you’ve got to have a crystal ball and understand how power units are going to be, the aero team, and so many other factors.

“I do wonder if Team Verstappen has got an exit card they can play at some point if they’re unsure about what happens in the future. But the 2025 cars will be largely these cars and I don’t think he’d want to be running away from potentially yet another championship next year.”

Asked if Newey’s impending exit could tempt Verstappen into pushing for a change of scenery, Brundle added: “I’m sure Max and his management team would have been informed all the way through there. Red Bull says that Adrian nearly stopped last year and it’s been on the cards for a while.

“So they’re well structured for the chassis, the aero, and the powertrain going into the future. They say they’re absolutely sorted going forward but losing a genius like Adrian is never good news. I’m sure that, in any design process, Adrian would knock a few things in along the way and have a brilliant idea or two at least.”

Red Bull would understandably like to keep Verstappen on their books, given that he is clearly the best driver on the current grid. However, team principal Christian Horner has already insisted that he will not stand in Verstappen’s way if his star driver wants to seek a new challenge.

Speaking at the Saudi Arabia Grand Prix, Horner said: “It’s like anything in life, you can’t force somebody to be somewhere just because of a piece of paper. If somebody doesn’t want to be at this team, then we’re not going to force somebody, against their will, to be here.”

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