Formula 1: Possible Ferrari future for Max Verstappen goes up in smoke
If there was even a chance that Max Verstappen would be headed to Ferrari for the 2021 Formula 1 season, that possibility went up in smoke.
Max Verstappen is one of many drivers whose contracts with their current teams expire at the end of the 2020 Formula 1 season. Verstappen signed a three-year extension with Red Bull Racing back in October of 2017, so his future beyond 2020 remains uncertain.
Red Bull Racing had a solid first season with Honda as their engine manufacturer, and they are believed by many to be on the right path toward title contention in 2020 with continued improvements.
However, if they can’t ascend to the level of Mercedes and Ferrari and challenge for wins on more regular basis to the point where the 22-year-old Dutchman is considered a true title threat, he could very well walk away and seek a better opportunity in 2021.
Verstappen has long been thought as a possible candidate to drive for Mercedes or Ferrari in 2021 should things not go Red Bull Racing’s way in 2020. Both Mercedes drivers, Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas, and Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel are all set to enter contract years in 2020.
But now it looks as though if Verstappen does leave Red Bull Racing, it would have to be for Mercedes.
While he had been mentioned as a possible candidate to replace Vettel alongside Charles Leclerc, who is under contract through the 2022 season, in 2021, any chance of that happening has officially gone up in smoke.
Verstappen alleged that Ferrari were cheating toward the end of the 2019 season, as their pace suddenly dropped off after the FIA issued a series of technical directives about engine legality with numerous questions surrounding the legality of Ferrari’s engines.
Ferrari did not immediately comment on Verstappen’s remarks, but now CEO Louis Camilleri has, and he has not taken too kindly to them, even going so far as to insult Verstappen for his age.
Here is what Camilleri had to say, according to PlanetF1.
“Silence in some situations is more powerful than words. We are Ferrari, we are a company quoted on the stock exchange, why give credibility to a 22-year-old kid? It was a way to put us under pressure.”
He added that Ferrari have no interest in signing Verstappen for the 2021 season with a simple one-word answer: “No”.
Verstappen added that he doesn’t believe it would work out anyway since he and Leclerc are both clear-cut number one drivers, which could add unnecessary tension to the team. Here is what he had to say, according to F1i.
“I don’t think that will happen. I get along well with him. It’s hard racing, but that is part of it. He has no influence whatsoever on whether I might get a seat at Ferrari. But I don’t think that will happen. You shouldn’t have two potential numbers one next to each other. He’s no slouch, is he?”
Will Max Verstappen remain with Red Bull Racing in the 2021 Formula 1 season, or will he leave for Mercedes to replace either Lewis Hamilton or Valtteri Bottas?