Ex-Formula 1 driver turned pundit, Martin Brundle, suspected Red Bull may have been tempted to quit had Max Verstappen decided to leave for Mercedes or Ferrari.
Verstappen has committed his long-term future to Red Bull, signing a three-year contract extension which will see him stay at Red Bull until the end of the 2023 season.
There will be relief at Red Bull to tie their star driver down for the next four seasons and Brundle feels Verstappen’s signature will also be beneficial to keeping Red Bull in Formula 1 for years to come as well.
“Red Bull had to be super nervous of keeping Max, that was critical,” Brundle told Sky Sports.
“You had to be concerned that if Max joined Mercedes or Ferrari that Dietrich Mateschitz, the team’s owner, might have looked at the whole thing and thought ‘what’s the point’ if he’s bringing a talent on like that only for him to jump ship.
“People love continuity inside Formula 1 teams. You build cars around drivers and their driving style.
“You build marketing programmes around them, you get long-term sponsors on board because you have got a long-term plan. Teams always look further down the road than they let on.
“We also know, of course, that there are often some exit windows on both sides as well through that process.
“That proviso has to be in place. Performance clauses are always very hard to write, but you might also seek key-personnel assurances.
“For example, if I was re-signing for Red Bull, I might want to know is Christian Horner going to be around? Is Adrian Newey around? Who else is around?
“They have put together a package, financial and technical, and it has convinced Max and his gang to settle in for another four years.”