‘It’s a stupid move’ – Max Verstappen given clear warning over potential action due to Red Bull saga

Oliver Harden
Max Verstappen looks deep in thought in a press conference with a prominent Red Bull logo alongside him

Could Max Verstappen have a decision to make on his F1 future in light of the Red Bull saga?

Max Verstappen has been warned that it would be “stupid” to leave Red Bull amid claims that the current saga within the team could persuade him to join Mercedes or Ferrari.

Verstappen and Red Bull are in the midst of one of the most crushing periods of dominance ever seen in F1, with the 26-year-old storming to three consecutive World Championships since 2021.

Max Verstappen warned against leaving Red Bull

The Dutchman has won 46 of the last 68 races stretching back to the start of his maiden title-winning season, with Verstappen opening his account for 2024 with consecutive victories from pole position in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia.

Another victory at this weekend’s Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne would see Verstappen match his own record of 10 straight wins, just six months after surpassing Sebastian Vettel’s 2013 tally of nine.

Although his current contract is due to run until 2028, Verstappen’s Red Bull future has been thrown into jeopardy in light of the recent saga involving team principal Christian Horner.

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Verstappen’s father Jos called for Horner to leave his position after the Bahrain GP, accusing the long-serving team boss of “playing the victim when he is the one causing the problems” after an investigation into Horner’s conduct was dismissed.

Amid concerns that Verstappen could leave Red Bull to replace Ferrari-bound Lewis Hamilton at Mercedes in Saudi Arabia a week later, Horner argued “nobody is bigger than the team.”

Former Ferrari driver Giancarlo Fisichella, who won three grands prix in 229 F1 starts between 1996 and 2009, believes Verstappen would be foolish to walk away from a winning car at Red Bull.

He told OCB Scores: “Anything is possible in Formula 1 and in life, you just never know.

“Nobody expected to see Lewis Hamilton moving from Mercedes and especially closing the deal with Ferrari. Nobody expected that.

“But we don’t know if Max will join Mercedes, next year or in the future. In the place where he is now with the best team and the best car, it’s stupid move to another team.

“The salary is good at Red Bull and it could be the same or even more in Mercedes, so who knows?

“But you’ve got a winning car, you are at the top of the world at the moment – why move to another team?”

Speaking to media in Saudi Arabia last weekend, Verstappen was insistent there is “no reason to leave” Red Bull any time soon – but teased Hamilton’s shock switch to Ferrari proves anything can happen.

He said: “The thing is I think no one would have ever seen that Lewis would move to Ferrari.

“In my life – and it’s not related to F1 or whatever, it’s just general life – you never know what happens or what comes to you or whatever happens around you or what might influence you.

“So you can never say 100 per cent that’s how it’s going to be and I approach my life like that.

“But I also don’t think about it too much. I’m very relaxed, I’m very happy at the team, the performance is there – there’s no reason to move on.”

Asked if he will see out his Red Bull contract, Verstappen stressed that performance will be the deciding factor.

He said: “Of course, that has always been the intention of signing. That’s why we signed so long to be here.

“And of course, it’s about the performance of the car.

“And of course, from 2026 onwards, that is a bit of a question mark anyway with new regulations, but I knew that when I signed my contract.

“But I also know what they have done for me in my career, so the intention is, of course, absolutely to stay with this team because I really enjoy it and I’m also really happy within the team.

“And as long as we perform, there is no reason to leave.”

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