F1 top news

Verstappen ‘cannot switch to Ferrari’ – Marko

Red Bull insists there is no risk it could lose Max Verstappen to a rival team like Ferrari before his contract runs out.

Former F1 driver Martin Brundle this week said he can sense the 19-year-old’s “frustration” this year, as Red Bull struggles to match Ferrari and Mercedes.

So there are rumours Verstappen could be poached by Ferrari, whose contracts with Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen run out late this year.

Although Dutchman Verstappen is under contract for 2018, one rumour is that his deal contains a clause that might let him leave Red Bull for performance reasons.

But Red Bull driver manager Dr Helmut Marko told Germany’s Auto Bild: “Contrary to all rumours, there is no performance clause in Verstappen’s contract.

“If we do not release him, he cannot switch to Ferrari.”

Red Bull – Spanish GP Preview

Daniel Ricciardo

“Barcelona is one of the better circuits on the calendar and it’s got a bit of everything. Turns 1, 2 and 3 are really good flowing corners and the last section is very technical. The end of the lap is quite slow and that’s where your tyres start to drop off which is why it’s really hard to finish the lap clean.

“We’ll have the Energy Station back in Barcelona so that’s nice and it’ll be an easier environment to prepare in. We’ve got it now for a few months and that means that we can actually put some things in our room that we can come back to. Little things that give us privacy and that home feeling like favourite snacks, training equipment or our own shower.

“I hope the upgrade will give us a chance to really fight with Mercedes and Ferrari or at least get us closer. The reason why it comes in Barcelona is that we put everything back in the factory were very busy so now I hope that it’s a quicker improvement. It means that the people who do the work behind the scenes get their reward as well. It’s a good feeling for everyone when these upgrades work.

“We’re going for the harder tyres for the first time this year in Barcelona. I’m not sure if it’ll help us or not but I just don’t think it’s going to be good for anyone. The tyres are already hard enough so the harder compounds are just way too hard. Hopefully for Barcelona’s sake it’s hot and therefore these harder tyres work, but if it’s cold then it’s going to be a struggle for everyone.”

Max Verstappen

“We’re finally back in Europe for the Spanish Grand Prix which is exciting, especially so for me this year. It means familiar food and more of a normal, comforting driver room with the Energy Station there. You get to chill out and prepare in your own room which is worth a lot if you’re travelling as much as we do.

“Around this time last year I got the call to join Red Bull Racing, which was a great feeling, and then when it got announced everything happened really fast. I spent a lot of time in the factory getting prepared in the simulator in order to get used to the car. A lot of media attention, but I wasn’t really nervous, just happy that I was finally driving for a top team.

“Last year was such a special race to me and in the end we managed to pull it off. It was an incredible feeling once I passed the finish line, especially in your first race with a new team. Going back to Spain will always mean a lot to me.

“Track wise I really like Turn 3 as it’s flat and quite a long corner so that’s good neck training. We have to wait and see what the updates will bring. I hope we can be a bit closer to the top teams or that we can at least follow them. That would already be a good step forward.”

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