Max Verstappen signs new Red Bull deal to 2023 F1 season
Red Bull extend Dutchman's deal until the end of 2023; Verstappen and Leclerc now signed up to F1's new era with their current teams
By James Galloway
Last Updated: 07/01/20 8:41pm
Max Verstappen has ended speculation about his F1 future by signing a new Red Bull deal that runs to 2023.
In the second big post-2020 driver news of the past month, Verstappen has extended his stay with the Honda-powered team by an additional three seasons - and reiterated his intention to win the world title with them.
"I want to win with Red Bull and our goal is of course to fight for a World Championship together," said the 22-year-old Verstappen, already an eight-time race winner.
Very proud and happy that @redbullracing will stay my home until 2023. We started this journey together and they have supported me from day 1. I want to win with @redbull and @HondaRacingF1, our goal is to fight for a World Championship together. The best is yet to come! #YesBoys pic.twitter.com/gal9QVTEFO— Max Verstappen (@Max33Verstappen) January 7, 2020
The news means that the two drivers considered the leading lights of F1's exciting new young generation - Verstappen and Charles Leclerc - are now signed up long-term to Red Bull and Ferrari respectively, their exisiting teams.
Ferrari announced an agreement with Leclerc until 2024 just before Christmas.
World champion Lewis Hamilton and Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel are both out of contract as it stands at the end of this year.
Great news all round re Max and RB. With Leclerc nailed on at Ferrari we’ve a serious long term duel on our hands 😁 hopefully joined by several other hot shoes. I wonder what’s in Lewis’s mind on his 35th birthday, the young knights are settled and focussed on his crown now 🤔 https://t.co/ngOlnxTfWv— Martin Brundle (@MBrundleF1) January 7, 2020
Great news for Red Bull and Ferrari with Max and Charles committing to stay with them till 2023 / 2024 respectively... Also means good news for F1 as it contradicts the "we're going to quit" threats that seem crop up while the teams are negotiating with Liberty!— Karun Chandhok (@karunchandhok) January 7, 2020
Verstappen puts his faith in Red Bull
Widely considered the hottest property in F1 other than six-time champion Hamilton, Verstappen's commitment to Red Bull is an undoubted coup for the former world champions.
Still only 22, Verstappen has now raced in over 100 grands prix across five seasons and won eight times, finishing a career-best third behind the Mercedes drivers in 2019's drivers' championship.
A strong finish to Red Bull's first season with Honda engines last year has raised expectations that the team could be ready to challenge Mercedes all season-long in 2020.
"I am really happy to have extended my partnership with the team. Red Bull believed in me and gave me the opportunity to start in Formula 1 which I have always been very grateful for," added Verstappen.
"Over the years I have grown closer and closer with the team and besides the passion from everyone and the on-track performance it is also really enjoyable to work with such a great group of people.
"Honda coming onboard and the progress we have made over the last 12 months gives me even more motivation and the belief that we can win together. I respect the way Red Bull and Honda work together and from all sides everyone is doing what they can to succeed."
Verstappen at Red Bull: The story so far
|Joined||2016, Spanish GP|
|Championship best||3rd, 2019|
Red Bull boss Christian Horner has described Verstappen's deal as "fantastic news" for the Milton Keynes-based outfit.
"With the challenge of the 2021 regulation changes on the horizon continuity in as many areas as possible is key," said Horner. "Max has proven what an asset he is to the team, he truly believes in the partnership we have forged with our engine supplier Honda, and we are delighted to have extended our relationship with him."
'New F1' begins to fall into place
Ferrari and Red Bull's winter moves to tie down Leclerc and Verstappen respectively mean what was expected to be a frenzied driver market for 2021 has already lost two key protagonists.
World champions Mercedes - who had been repeatedly linked with Verstappen - are now the only one of F1's 'Big Three without a driver yet signed up for 2021, with both Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas' deals expiring this December.
Hamilton has indicated he wants to extend his career and not given any indication he wants to leave Mercedes but has nonetheless said he will take time to consider his options for what could be his final contract in F1.
The Briton, who turned 35 on Tuesday, has been linked with Vettel's seat at Ferrari, with the Scuderia themselves confirming in recent weeks that Hamilton had spoken to their chairman John Elkann during 2019.
Ferrari chief Louis Camilleri said before Christmas that it was too early to say who would partner Leclerc in 2021, with the team planning talks with Vettel to determine his future plans in the sport.
Racing Point's Sergio Perez and new Renault signing Esteban Ocon are currently the only other drivers who publicly have deals in place beyond 2020.
F1's technical and sporting rules are being overhauled for 2021 to improve the spectacle and increase competition through the grid by reducing costs.
The first confirmed car launch for 2020 is Ferrari's on February 11, before pre-season testing starts on February 19. The season-opening race in Australia is on March 15, with all 22 races live on Sky Sports F1.