Last Friday, Honda announced it would not extend its contract with the Red Bull teams, exiting Formula 1 in late 2021.
Earlier, energy drink boss Helmut Marko linked the future of their star pilot, Max Verstappen and Honda, in a few statements, with the Austrian talking about the Dutch leaving earlier than 2023 without good resources, so speculation has begun in recent days that after the motor partner, the competitor can also step down to – where else? – prove it to Mercedes.
Red Bull Racing team boss Christian Horner made it clear in an interview that Honda’s exit will not affect Verstappen’s contractual position.
“There is no such clause in your contract,” he said in a Servus TV broadcast. “The contract between the team and the competitor is confidential, but the condition for the engine is clearly not in Max’s contract.”
“Max is competitive, feels very good about the team and firmly believes in the Honda program. I think you can also see that Honda will bring forward the engine for 2022 by 2021, which is very encouraging for next year. He is happy about that, and there is still a lot of time until 2022. ”
The engine, of course, does not have to be decided in early 2022, it needs to be clarified within a few months where the Red Bull teams will get their resources from. Honda might be open to licensing / handing over its own engine, but if the energy drink maker doesn’t want to start its own production program, only the old partner, Renault, will remain a realistic option and, to put it mildly, they will be separated in bad terms at the end of 2018. Interestingly, Horner now speaks quite positively about the French:
“At Renault, a lot has changed since the divorce. With the new board, new winds are blowing, changes have been made. Things are going in the right direction, ”he said of Renault.