19-year-old Red Bull Racing driver Max Verstappen has described rumours linking him with a move to Scuderia Ferrari as “positive”. Given his recent his reliability problems, which led to several disappointing results prior to the 2017 British Grand Prix, an underpowered Renault engine and obvious outward frustration for the first half of the 2017 Formula One season, rumours have suggested the Maranello team is seriously taking into consideration the possibility of making a move for the talented 19-year-old driver. For the moment the Italian side has not clarified the situation regarding the line-up for the 2018 Formula One championship, as both Ferrari drivers, Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen, have agreements which are available only until the end of the current F1 season.
However, Max Verstappen has a firm contract for 2018 and 2019, and current advisor to the Red Bull GmbH Formula One Team Dr Helmut Marko says he would not consider releasing the young Dutchman even for EUR 100 million: “100 million? Cool, I’m more expensive than a footballer!” – the Belgian-Dutch racing driver said at Silverstone, where Max Verstappen finished in fourth place as he benefited from Sebastian Vettel’s misfortune in the final stages of the race.
“It is always very positive when someone values you like that.” – When asked to comment on reports of talks between himself or his father Jos and Scuderia Ferrari, however, Verstappen added: “I am not talking about what’s happening, because I currently have a contract with Red Bull, and we will see.” When asked if the contract really does in fact run until the end of the 2019 Formula One season, he explained: “I’m not talking about the length of the contract, but right now I have a contract and there is no point in making assumptions for the future.”
Christian Horner, Team Principal of the Red Bull Racing Formula One team, said at Silverstone that the energy drink company would consider releasing Toro Rosso Spanish driver Carlos Sainz to a rival team for the right price. However, as far as the main two drivers (Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo) are concerned, he added: “They have a hard commitment to Red Bull Racing, and we will not give them up for any price.”