Lewis Hamilton only signed for one year and that might open doors for Max Verstappen. Would the 23-year-old Dutchman be interested in a move to Mercedes F1 team?
Red Bull’s Max Verstappen insists he is “not thinking about” the prospect of replacing Lewis Hamilton if the Mercedes driver quits Formula 1 after 2021.
Following a long-run saga, Hamilton finally put pen to paper on a new deal to remain with Mercedes for 2021, though the nature of the one-year contract has only fuelled speculation about his future beyond the end of the year.
Red Bull team principal Christian Horner recently said he expects Verstappen would at the top of Mercedes’ driver wish-list as a possible candidate to replace Hamilton in the future.
But the Dutchman, who signed a new long-term agreement with Red Bull at the start of last year, is not dwelling on the subject on the eve of the new campaign.
“At the end of the day, I don’t know what Lewis is going to do,” Verstappen told media on Thursday following his first outing in Red Bull’s updated RB16B this week at Silverstone.
“I’m just focused on myself and focused on this year and trying to make that a success. So early in the season with basically just a shakedown, I am not thinking about those sort of things at this stage.”
Red Bull has agreed a deal to continue to use Honda’s F1 power units until 2025, while it has also formed a new engine devision of its own – called Red Bull Powertrains Limited – at its Milton Keynes base, opening the door to potentially develop its own power unit in the future.
Asked whether Red Bull’s move changed anything from Verstappen’s point of view regarding the future, he replied: “No, it doesn’t change anything for me.
“It’s exciting but at the same time I’m not too focused on it at the moment. We are living in the moment, trying to have a good season first of all this year and the smart people in the background will handle those kind of things with the engine.
“It’s of course very important that it happened and that it was signed off,” he added. “But that’s it. I’m very relaxed, very calm. I just want to focus on this year. That’s for me very important. It’s nice to have in the background that it’s sorted.”
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FORMULA 1 BACK AT ISTANBUL PARK IN TURKEY
THE NEXT RACE 2021
|Bahrain ||26 Mar|
|14:30 - 15:30||Free practice 1|
|18:00 - 19:00||Free practice 2|
|15:00 - 16:00||Free practice 3|
|18:00 - 19:00||Qualifying|
|18:00 - 20:00||Race|
|Bahrain||57 laps||308.238 km|