MAX VERSTAPPEN has vowed to bring the Formula 1 world title back to Red Bull and Honda after signing a new contract to 2023.
Speculation that Mercedes or Ferrari would try and snap up the Dutch racer, 22, have refused to go away since his emergence as a future champion.
But Tuesday’s announcement shows Verstappen’s commitment to Red Bull past the 2021 rule changes that could shake up the sport.
He wrote on Twitter: “Very proud and happy that Red Bull will stay my home until 2023.
“We started this journey together and they have supported me from day 1. I want to win with Red Bull and Honda, our goal is to fight for a World Championship together. The best is yet to come!”
Verstappen insisted late last year he was “not in a hurry” to agree new terms.
And team principal Christian Horner has constantly fielded question over a potential break clause in his star’s old contract – with no word yet on whether they feature in this deal.
Horner stated on Tuesday: “It is fantastic news for the team to have extended our agreement with Max up-to and including the 2023 season.
“With the challenge of the 2021 regulation changes on the horizon continuity in as many areas as possible is key. Max has proven what an asset he is to the Team, he truly believes in the partnership we have forged with our engine supplier Honda, and we are delighted to have extended our relationship with him.”
Verstappen took an impressive third place in the Drivers’ Championship last season, beating both Ferrari cars to be the ‘best of the rest’ behind the dominant Mercedes.
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Victories were claimed in Austria, Germany and Brazil – where his run to third place in the pouring rain back in 2016 underlined his supreme talents.
And Verstappen shrugged off his raw gem status with improved consistency, only finishing outside of the top-five on four occasions – two of which were retirements.
The 2020 season will see him once again partnered by British-Thai driver Alex Albon, who signed a one-year deal with Red Bull after taking over Pierre Gasly’s seat in August.