Despite the fact that the 2017 Formula One season has not even reached the second part, the driver market for the next championship is already starting to become a major talking point in the media, with many trying to anticipate who will be where for 2018. There is no surprise that Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo are very unhappy with the start of the F1 season, as the two Red Bull drivers were very much expecting to be challenging for the title this year. Instead, the team has slumped behind both Mercedes and Scuderia Ferrari and are in no man’s land in third place. Remaining relatively unchallenged from the teams behind, it seems third place in the championship is already ironing itself out for the energy drink team.
Yet Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo are tied to Red Bull beyond this season given their contracts, British Formula One pit-lane reporter Ted Kravitz thinks that it is possible for Max Verstappen to be brought in by Scuderia Ferrari for next season, thus replacing Finnish driver Kimi Raikkonen who could choose to end his Formula One career at the end of the current championship:
“What is going to happen to Verstappen? We hear that not only is he not happy but by extension Jos is not happy. They are having heated discussions with Helmut Marko about what on earth is going on, where is this championship you promised us, and they are looking around as well. I think we have to throw Verstappen into the mix of where he will be driving next year. Red Bull say they hold all the cards, drivers don’t leave us we dump drivers. But try saying that to Sebastian Vettel who had a valid Red Bull contract. If Verstappen has Ferrari coming in saying ‘We want you Max to partner Sebastian Vettel next year, take Kimi’s seat, we will sort out the contract’ I think he would go. He’s that impatient for championship success that I think he would go at the moment because he doesn’t see, like many of us, Red Bull getting a championship before the rules change after 2020. Verstappen may have a contract but, as Christian Horner says, you can’t force a driver to drive for you if he doesn’t want to drive for you.” – Ted Kravitz said on a Sky Sports F1 Facebook Live.