In Brief

F1: Max Verstappen’s Red Bull future again in question

Driver’s father Jos Verstappen retweets story saying Red Bull are ‘worried’

What does the future hold for Max Verstappen at Red Bull Racing?

The 21-year-old is contracted with the Austrian Formula 1 team until the end of the 2020 season, but speculation continues that he could eventually move to either Mercedes or Ferrari.

After seven races Verstappen is fourth in the 2019 drivers’ standings with 88 points. This season Red Bull are powered by Honda and while Verstappen says the engine provider is “doing well” he believes the car is not as good as last year’s.

Speaking to Ziggo Sport he said: “It is very easy. We just do not have such a good car as last year. Overall, the car is not as good like last year.

“In terms of power, I think we are closer to Mercedes, but the car is certainly no better than Mercedes right now.

“We’re losing too much time on that. Honda is doing well, but now we just have to look at the team and improve the car.”

Performance clause and Marko’s worries

It has been widely reported this week that Verstappen’s contract has a performance clause, a fact that was confirmed by Dr Helmut Marko, Red Bull’s driver manager.

In an interview with Italian publication La Gazzetta dello Sport Marko admitted he was “worried” that the team could lose their star asset.

Marko said: “Of course I am [worried]. At the moment there is only one car that is winning and it is Mercedes. We have taken a step backwards even though our performance is better.”

‘I am the driver, not my father’

GrandPrix.com also carried the story about Marko’s “worries”. The news website posted the article on Twitter on Sunday evening and it was given a retweet by an unlikely source - Max Verstappen’s father Jos.

GPFans.com reports that Jos Verstappen later deleted the retweet and Max responded to the speculation about his Red Bull future.

“I am the driver, not my father,” he snapped. 

Max believes in Honda project 

When asked about the performance of the Red Bull car and Honda, Verstappen said: “Of course we all know that we need to do better. But I believe in the project we are in together with Honda.

“So we are just working hard now to of course step up the performance. We’ll see in the upcoming races where we will be because if you get a bit more power, a bit more balance in the car, then suddenly it looks a lot different.”

Honda very happy with collaboration

Honda’s F1 boss Toyoharu Tanabe agreed that improvements must be made, GPBlog reports. He also insists that the engine provider is happy with the relationship it has with the Red Bull star.

Speaking after last weekend’s Canadian Grand Prix, where Verstappen finished fifth, Tanabe said: “We must work to improve in order to perform better as soon as possible, given that we are now coming to our first back-to-back races in France and Austria.”

On the relationship with Verstappen Tanabe told Dutch newspaper Algemeen Dagblad: “For now we are very happy with this collaboration. The communication with Max is very nice and all about improving the engine.

“His feedback is very simple, precise and clear. That makes it much easier for us to work on a problem.

“He only says something if he considers it necessary, but that’s ok for us. As long as he asks the necessary questions and points out problems. And he does.

“For the remainder of the year, Max must be confident that he has the best package here. We aim for Max to take another win this year.

“He knows how to get the most out of his material, and that is very nice for an engine supplier to work with.”

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