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2018 F1

If Red Bull produce race winning car, Verstappen will stay – Horner

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Speculation about Max Verstappen’s future will calm down once Red Bull gives him a winning car.

That is the view of Red Bull team boss Christian Horner, when asked by the Dutch publication Formule 1 about constant rumours connecting the 19-year-old with Ferrari.

Verstappen is under contract until the end of 2019, and Horner said it is pointless to consider the future beyond them.

“A contract must reflect mutual interest,” he said.

“It does not make sense to talk about the longer term because we must first offer him a car that he can win with,” Horner added. “I am convinced that once we succeed there will be no team for which he would rather drive.”

However, although Red Bull has improved recently, Verstappen has had a particularly bad first half of 2017, marked by reliability problems and now a clash with teammate Daniel Ricciardo.

Asked how Verstappen is coping, Horner said: “Very maturely, especially when you consider how young he is. In England, Max can’t even rent a car!

“It’s impressive how he deals with the pressure, expectations and interest, especially from the Netherlands,” he added. “As a driver he is becoming stronger but also as a human.”

Asked where Verstappen can still get better, Horner answered: “No one is perfect, so it’s always about improving in small ways.

“That’s also exactly the way we work as a team. While already at a high level, Max has the same desire to get more and more out of himself.”

Max took just one podium finish through the first 11 rounds of the year, continuing a run of five DNF in seven races from Bahrain to Austria that has left him 50 points behind teammate Daniel Ricciardo in the drivers’ title.

“He’s been unbelievably lucky until this point, because he has been driving at such a high level,” Horner added.

“To be taken out in Barcelona, through no fault of his own, to have had successive engine failures in Montreal and Baku, where he was in a position to certainly finish on the podium if not win the grand prix was immensely frustrating.

“But he has dealt with it incredibly well and I’m certain that after the summer break he is going to have a strong second half of the year.”

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