Aug.29 (GMM) Team owner Dietrich Mateschitz is adamant Red Bull is not going to imminently lose Max Verstappen.
That is despite the fact the angry and frustrated rhetoric from the Verstappen camp has ramped up since the 19-year-old retired for the sixth time out of twelve races last weekend in Belgium.
“A 50 per cent failure rate is simply unacceptable,” Red Bull mogul Mateschitz told Speed Week.
But earlier, Red Bull official Dr Helmut Marko said he would not release Verstappen from his 2018-2019 contract even for EUR 100 million.
“Dr Marko values me at 100 million, so who knows?” Verstappen told Ziggo Sport Totaal on Monday. “Maybe I will go to (football club) Paris Sainz-Germain,” he joked.
According to Max’s father and manager Jos, his son’s patience is noticeably up.
“I notice that Max is very upset,” said the former F1 driver.
“It’s hard to keep your motivation when this happens all the time. He outqualified his teammate by half a second but in the race he is suddenly out after seven or eight laps.
“This should not happen in a top team,” Verstappen snr added.
Given the escalation in rhetoric, it is therefore obvious to question whether Verstappen can remain committed to Red Bull for much longer.
“Perhaps it’s not the right time to ask this question,” Jos admitted, “but in a situation like this you do start to question everything.”
However, the only teams more competitive than Red Bull at present are Mercedes and Ferrari, and their driver lineups are not going to change for 2018.
“We are the best team remaining,” Marko told German television Sky.
Mateschitz agrees that Verstappen has nowhere else to go.
“At the moment, where would he go?” the Austrian billionaire wondered. “But we know we cannot keep Max in the future if we cannot give him a car.”
All the fingers of blame are being pointed at Red Bull’s engine supplier Renault, but Mateschitz said: “Nothing has changed for us.
“We cannot get a Mercedes or Ferrari, and a Honda would not help us.”