Helmut Marko explains which scenario could lead to Max Verstappen’s Red Bull departure

Following the action-packed, ‘drain cover-loosening’ pre-season testing of the 2024 F1 season, the Formula 1 community took a good grasp of the new F1 Challengers. The pre-season testing only solidified everyone’s common prediction ahead of the new season: Max Verstappen and Red Bull’s continued dominance.

While everyone is talking about the ‘Max Verstappen-Red Bull’ combo, the Austrian team’s very own Helmut Marko opened up on a certain scenario that could lead to Max Verstappen’s departure from the team.

Helmut Marko describes Max Verstappen’s Red Bull leaving scenario

Max Verstappen, the reigning Formula 1 World Champion, has built up such a ‘record-breaking partnership with the Red Bull camp, that he is tied up with them till 2028, and it [the partnership] is unlikely to split before the contract runs out.

However, in a recent interview with Servus TV, Helmut Marko (Red Bull’s current director) detailed a specific scenario that could cause Max Verstappen’s departure from the team.

Talking about the Verstappen contract at RB, he started by saying, “In every Formula 1 contract there are certain clauses. That also applies to Max’s contract.”

Reflecting on Verstappen’s motivation for performance over money, he added, “I just don’t think an astronomical amount of money is a theme for him. We have to provide him with a winning car.”

“Of course, he is interested in success as a driver. Max is not getting any younger.”

“If Max no longer sees a light on the horizon with Red Bull and performance criteria start to play a role, it is clear that he will also start looking around him”, he told, revealing the factor that might influence Verstappen’s departure.

Max Verstappen departing from RB at this point is extremely unlikely, as the RB20 looks to be a ‘Championship-winning’ car; this is crystal clear in its F1 testing performances.

Max Verstappen not interested on rivals during Red Bull F1 testing

Max Verstappen—Red Bull’s Flying Dutchman—was literally flying on pre-season testing’s Day 1 with the ‘absolute monster’ RB20, as he recorded D1’s fastest lap time of 1 minute 31.31.344 seconds at the Bahrain International Circuit. But D3 was a bit ‘underwhelming’ by Verstappen’s standards, as he finished 4th in the D3 table with a lap time of 1m 30.755s, just 0.433 seconds behind table-topper Charles Leclerc.

In a recent interview, Max Verstappen was asked about his hot take on Scuderia Ferrari’s—who have thrust themselves into the early running for pole position at the Bahrain GP—testing performance. The Dutch replied to this by saying, “I don’t really think about that.”

Emphasizing his own headaches, he added, “I just look at what we’re doing here. There’s always a lot of work to do, you always want to do better.”

“But I think we had a very positive test, and we learned a lot from every single thing that we changed on the car”, he said.

Subtly warning his F1 rivals for this weekend’s season-opener, Verstappen concluded by quoting “We also know what we want to do for next week and that’s what we’ll focus on.”

With the pre-season testing now complete, Bahrain will see the real ‘Max Verstappen-RB20’ combination between 29th February to 2nd March.

Will Max Verstappen split with Red Bull before his long-term contract runs out? Can he clinch the ‘Fastest Lap Time’ ahead of Charles Leclerc at the Bahrain Grand Prix? Let us know your predictions in the comments.


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