Sep.16 (GMM) Red Bull must supply Max Verstappen with “a competitive engine” in order to keep him at the team beyond 2021.
That is the surprising admission of Dr Helmut Marko, even though in the opening days of this year, the team announced that it had signed a deal with the Dutch driver through 2023.
After back to back Honda-related failures at both Monza and Mugello, Verstappen did not hide that his earlier optimistic and patient attitude may be changing.
“Hopefully next year we will be closer to Mercedes,” he told Ziggo Sport.
“I don’t think we will be able to win. Due to the coronavirus, we can’t make many changes to the car, so I hope that the regulations for the 2022 season will be a new beginning.
“But if we are so far away, this will not happen. We still want to win every weekend, but this championship is over,” Verstappen added.
The 22-year-old also described his back to back failures in the past two races as “unacceptable”.
“Honda has made progress,” Red Bull top official Marko told Sport1, “but Mercedes is still superior in the area of the batteries.
“We have to improve now,” he added. “Honda has replaced some engineers, so perhaps that is why the unexpected difficulties arose.”
Currently, Honda is committed to Formula 1 only for the 2021 season, and some are tipping the Japanese manufacturer to pull out after that.
“The decision should be made at the beginning of October,” Marko admitted.
If Honda does go, that could trigger an exit clause in Verstappen’s contract, which is thought to guarantee a works engine.
“Actually, Max has a fixed contract for 2021,” said Marko. “But we are well aware that we have to provide him with a competitive engine.”
F1 Changes Starting in 2021 - After many months of discussions and deliberations, Formula 1’s ten teams have now agreed to the terms of the “Concorde Agreement” that binds them to the world championship for another five years.
This agreement is a contract between Formula 1, the FIA governing body and the teams which wish to compete in the F1 World Championship from 2021 to 2025 and defines how F1’s television revenues and prize money will be distributed.
Formula 1 bosses have been keen to build a strong foundation on which to secure the long-term future for the championship. As such a revolutionary new budget cap will be introduced next year, along with new technical regulations and a new set of sporting rules coming in 2022.
The Covid-19 pandemic has created unprecedented challenges for everyone in 2020, and has served as another reminder that something needed to change. Once the championship restarted, so too could the commercial agreement talks.
By changing the way the prize money is distributed, it was inevitable that some teams would be happy – as they would receive a greater share – and others less so, as they would have a smaller slice.
But ultimately, as they have increasingly done in recent months, all the stakeholders found a way to come together and compromise on the document, which they agreed to in time for the early deadline of August 18th – which brought a small financial incentive.
With the 10 teams signed up for the next five years, and the regulations and cost cap defined, Formula 1 can finally embark on a new era. The new agreement also squashes any speculation that teams like Mercedes or Haas might not be around for the long term.
The hope now is that all F1 teams can develop themselves into robust operations financially while also closing the pack in terms of competitiveness that can in turn improve the racing spectacle.
Roll on 2021!