Christian Horner casts clear verdict on Max Verstappen’s Red Bull future amidst Mercedes talk

Jamie Woodhouse
Red Bull team boss Christian Horner hugging Max Verstappen

Christian Horner hugs Max Verstappen.

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner said he is “certain” that Max Verstappen will honour his Red Bull contract following speculation linking him to Mercedes.

The shock announcement that Lewis Hamilton is heading to Ferrari for 2025 has sprung the latest F1 ‘silly season’ into action very early, with the recent unrest at Red Bull having led to chatter that Verstappen could be the one to replace the seven-time World Champion.

Christian Horner ‘certain’ Max Verstappen stays at Red Bull

After Verstappen’s father Jos made the surprise call for Horner’s Red Bull exit, speculation bubbled up that Verstappen could be the one heading for the Red Bull exit door, with Mercedes poised to take advantage of the apparent off-track tensions.

Red Bull senior advisor Helmut Marko failed to deny that Jos had held talks with Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff, but Horner is convinced that Verstappen, contracted to Red Bull until the end of 2028, is going nowhere, despite Verstappen having not given a clear no to the possibility.

Asked by media ahead of the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix whether he believes Verstappen will see out his Red Bull deal, Horner replied: “I’m certain that he will.

“I mean, he’s got a great team around him, he’s got great faith in that team and we’ve achieved an awful lot together.

“He’s committed to an agreement until 2028. And from a team side, from Max’s side, we’re determined to build on the success that we’ve achieved already.

“Those 55 victories have all come in Red Bull cars, all of the podiums have come in Red Bull Racing cars, and we’re determined to build on that and add hopefully many more in the future.”

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And the signs are very promising for Verstappen and Red Bull in that respect, Verstappen having led home a dominant 1-2 finish for the team at the Bahrain F1 2024 season opener.

That being said, Horner is not ready to prepare the celebrations for a third Constructors’ and Drivers’ title double in a row yet, stressing we first must wait to see how the RB20 performs at different venues, with Saudi Arabia’s Jeddah Corniche Circuit the next battleground.

Asked if there is a particular part of the RB20 which stands above the rest, Horner responded: “I don’t think there’s any single attribute that stands out.

“I think it’s been an outstanding team performance.

“As you can see, it’s an aggressive evolution of RB19. We took a concept that was hugely successful in RB19, the most successful car of all time, but I think that you can see that the whole design team and the production side of the business, the supply chain, all aspects of the business have pushed the boundaries with this car to keep evolving it, to keep pushing it.

“There’s some great ingenuity on the car, but it’s only a sample of 24 races at a specific track. All the tracks vary quite a lot that are in the championship, so let’s see how the car performs at a completely different venue, at a street circuit like this.”

Verstappen heads into the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix looking for his ninth successive grand prix victory.

Read next: Christian Horner responds to Jos Verstappen’s controversial Bahrain GP comments