While the media were focused on the Fernando Alonso announcement regarding his new contract with McLaren, the paddock was awash with rain and buzz Friday morning as Red Bull announced a contract extension for Max Verstappen.
The Red Bull phenom has now extended his relationship with red Bull to 2020 and this, despite the fact that just about every top team were looking at Max as a potential driver. Suffice it to say, he is a highly sought-after driver right now and Red Bull know that.
Verstappen said: “Red Bull has always shown faith and belief in me with actions – inviting me in to the young driver programme as a 16-year-old, then giving me my start in Formula 1 when I was just 17, and then the opportunity to race with Red Bull, where I had such a dream start.
“They have always backed me and my ambition and I know we share that ambition. Their support, no matter what plays out on the race track, has always been 100%.
“We’ve also had some fun times! I’m very happy to commit further to Red Bull and I’m looking forward to working together to enjoy more success in the years to come.”
For a young man who wants to win a title, having the confidence in Red Bull for another three seasons is a big leap of faith and one has to wonder if there isn’t some serious performance clauses in that contract.
“We are delighted that Max has agreed to extend his contract with Red Bull,” said team boss Christian Horner.
“We had a phenomenal start together in Spain last year and Max has only pushed on from there.
“It was a great moment for the whole team to see him put the frustrations of this season behind him in taking that fantastic victory in Malaysia last month.
“He is pure racer, with an undeniable talent at the wheel and a rare instinct for what it takes to compete consistently at this level.
“Coupled with a committed work ethic and a mature approach to learning his craft that belies his years, Max is right to be hungry for success and we are looking forward to extending that journey with him in our hunt for Formula 1 world championships.
“As we now look to the long term with Max, he is in the best place to build a team around him to deliver our shared ambition.”
Another season of DNF’s and middling performance may test the young Dutchman’s patience.