In Brief

F1: Mercedes quitting is ‘not unthinkable’, says Dutch GP boss Jan Lammers

Red Bull advisor Marko was worried Verstappen would join the Silver Arrows

Jan Lammers, the ex-Formula 1 driver and Dutch Grand Prix sporting director, believes Mercedes’s long-term future in the sport is uncertain.

The Silver Arrows are the dominant force in F1 after winning six successive championship doubles, but in recent weeks there has been speculation Lewis Hamilton could move to Ferrari in 2021 and be joined by team principal Toto Wolff. 

GrandPX reports that no team or manufacturer is officially committed to F1 beyond 2020, although yesterday Red Bull announced that Max Verstappen had signed a new deal to 2023 and last month Ferrari confirmed Charles Leclerc will stay until 2024.

However, Mercedes’s plans are up in the air with six-time world champion Hamilton and team-mate Valtteri Bottas both out of contract at the end of this season.

When asked about Mercedes, Lammers told F1 Maximaal: “It is somewhat uncertain what they will do in the long term.

“I certainly don’t think it’s unthinkable that they’ll say ‘it was fantastic, but it’s time to do something else’.

“I think the chance of further dominance is statistically small. Although they are still impressive, you can perhaps say that Mercedes has now reached the peak.”

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Red Bull Racing driver Max Verstappen

David Ramos/Getty Images

Marko was ‘worried’ Max would join Merc 

Max Verstappen’s immediate future in F1 was confirmed yesterday after it was announced that the 22-year-old had signed a new deal with Red Bull until 2023. 

Verstappen had previously been linked with moves to rival teams and Red Bull advisor Helmut Marko admits he was “very worried” the talented driver could switch to Mercedes next year.  

Speaking to Auto Bild, Marko said: “I spent the holidays fixing the contract. I was very worried we’d lose Max to Mercedes in 2021.”

Valentine’s Day car launch for Alpha Tauri

The countdown to the new season continues and two teams have announced the launch dates of their 2020 challengers. 

Ferrari were the first team to confirm their launch date. The Italians will unveil their new car on 11 February. 

Formula1.com reports that the Alpha Tauri team, formerly Toro Rosso, will launch their new model on 14 February. 

F1 2020 pre-season takes place at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya on 19-21 February and 26-28 February. The 22-race season starts on 15 March with the Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne. 

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