Max Verstappen has insisted 2022 is too far away to rush into a decision about his Red Bull future following Honda’s decision to pull out as their engine supplier.
Honda announced at the end of last week they will exit Formula 1 at the end of the 2021 season in order to focus on “environmental initiatives”.
That means Red Bull need to find a new source of engines for 2022, when the sport’s new regulations kick in and which are expected to provide a better chance of levelling up the playing field compared to the current era of Mercedes dominance.
By then, Verstappen will want to ensure he is in a car that can give him the best opportunity of fulfilling his World Championship dream.
But the Dutchman claimed on the eve of the Eifel Grand Prix weekend at the Nurburgring that he is not yet thinking about what might be his best solution for 2022.
“I just focus on this season and next season. I think that’s the most important,” said Verstappen. “What happens after that is so far, it doesn’t make sense to think about that yet.
“We are still driving with them [Honda] for another one-and-a-half years and after that we have the new regulations of the cars coming in, so there are so many unknowns.
“I’m just focused on what I have to do, which is drive the car as fast as I can with an engine in the back. I hope I’m not going to end up like Fred Flintstone where I have to pedal it myself – that’s quite physically demanding, I think! – and then we will see again after next year.
“It’s not up to me to make the decision on the engines. I’m open to anything. I just hope I don’t end up pedalling it myself, I think that’s the most important.”
Verstappen admitted that uncertainty in F1 historically, and also in the world currently, meant Honda’s decision could not be seen as a surprise – and that he knew about it before it was publicly revealed.
“You could feel it coming,” he said. “Of course you don’t show it, but I knew a little bit earlier than the announcement. It’s a shame but understandable from their side.
“You could expect something like this, you’re never sure and that’s the same for teams as well. You sign a deal with them but who knows what is happening in five years’ time? I guess the situation in the whole wide world is definitely not helping.
“It’s a shame but you have to understand their reasons. We just keep on pushing. Of course they’re pulling out but they’re not just going to back off.
“We just keep working together because we have a great relationship. It’s really enjoyable to work with the guys and so for the rest of the year we’ll just keep on going and also next year, introducing the new engine – I’m very much looking forward to that, to bring it to a good end and keep pushing to the last race.”