Apr.12 (GMM) Max Verstappen has joined his father in slamming suggestions he regularly talks on the phone to Mercedes boss Toto Wolff.
The rumours, triggered by Red Bull’s Dr Helmut Marko, sparked suggestions the 21-year-old Dutchman might try to exercise a break clause in his contract and switch to Mercedes for 2020.
Verstappen’s father Jos denied that Max even has Wolff’s phone number.
Max, speaking in Shanghai, agrees with his father that there is nothing to the speculation.
“I was really surprised to read about it,” he said.
“I have never called Toto Wolff and he has never called me. He doesn’t have my number so it’s pretty funny.
“Toto and my father sometimes talk, but it’s more about babies and karting,” Verstappen smiled.
He also refused to talk about the supposed performance-related exit clause in his contract. The rumours suggest if Red Bull drops out of the top three, he is free to leave.
“I cannot and will not talk about my contract,” said Verstappen. “I think that’s normal.”
More important to the Dutchman is his 2019 car, which according to Marko has an “aerodynamic problem”.
“I feel better in the car than last year,” Max said in China. “But right now we are not fast enough.”
He said changes have been made since Bahrain, helped by the post-GP test.
“We know now what we did wrong with the setup,” said Verstappen. “We’ll see how the car behaves with the changes,” he added, indicating they are related to the car’s mechanical setup.
“It is not a big problem so it should be quickly resolved. If we find the right balance, we can be closer to Mercedes and Ferrari.”
Speaking to Kronen Zeitung newspaper, Marko agrees: “We see light at the end of the tunnel.
“The tests in Bahrain clarified the direction to go.”
He denied that the “aerodynamic problems”, uncharacteristic for an Adrian Newey car, reveal a fundamental issue with the 2019 machine.
“It’s aerodynamic problems, so I don’t think we have to question the overall concept of the car,” said Marko.
“Then we have a good engine, although not quite at the level of Ferrari and Mercedes.”
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!