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Horner 'certain' Verstappen will see out Red Bull contract until 2028 amid Mercedes rumours

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BAHRAIN, BAHRAIN - MARCH 01: Max Verstappen of the Netherlands and Oracle Red Bull Racing talks

Red Bull Team Principal Christian Horner says he is “certain” Max Verstappen will see out his contract with the team, following speculation linking the Dutchman with a move elsewhere.

Verstappen – who won the season opener in Bahrain last week – has a deal to race with Red Bull until the end of 2028. But there has been speculation the three-time world champion could look to race elsewhere before his contract expires. Some have linked him with a move to Red Bull rivals Mercedes, replacing Ferrari-bound Lewis Hamilton.

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“I’m certain he will [see out the remainder of his contract],” said Horner. “He has got a great team around him, he’s got great faith in that team.

“We’ve achieved a lot together. He’s committed to an agreement to 2028. From the team’s side, from Max’s side, we are determined to build on the success we’ve achieved already. Those 55 victories have all come in Red Bull cars, all of the podiums have come in Red Bull racing cars. We are determined to build on that and hopefully add many more in the future.”

George Russell of Mercedes and Max Verstappen of Red Bull Racing after qualifying ahead of the

Horner downplayed the chances of Verstappen making the switch to Mercedes

Horner’s comments came after he was asked in the Thursday press conference in Saudi Arabia about alleged tensions between himself and Max’s father Jos – with Horner adding that it was “in everybody’s interests” that the pair have agreed “to move on” following the latter’s criticism, which included negative comments made to a British newspaper.

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Asked if he had spoken to Verstappen Senior following the comments, Horner replied: “I spoke to Jos following the Grand Prix [in Bahrain, which Verstappen won], obviously congratulated him on his son’s performance. I think it is in everybody’s interests collectively that we’ve agreed to move on, to focus on the future.

“We both have vested interest in his son, to provide the best cars for him and get the best out of him. He’s started the season in the best possible way, he’s an outstanding talent and hopefully we can continue to provide him competitive car.”

BAHRAIN, BAHRAIN - FEBRUARY 29: Oracle Red Bull Racing Team Principal Christian Horner talks with

“I think it is in everybody’s interests collectively that we’ve agreed to move on, to focus on the future”

He added: “I’m obviously aware of the comments made, there was a discussion subsequent to the race. Everybody’s focus is on future. The team’s focus is very much on defending both these world titles we fought so hard to achieve, Max’s three successive titles... the 55 victories he’s achieved, the 114 victories we’ve achieved as a team – we sit tied with Williams now in terms of Grand Prix victories.

“Our focus is on the future. Discussions took place following the race in Bahrain and we’re all looking forward.”

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Horner was asked specifically if the air had been cleared between himself and Jos – who is not in Saudi this weekend as he has pre-arranged commitments elsewhere. Horner replied: “I’m not going to air all discussions that are private between parties. But discussions have been inevitably had and the team is focused on the challenges ahead of us.

“The team is very focused on season ahead. Whilst we had a dominant race in Bahrain, we don’t expect it in future races. We are acutely aware of our competitors. You don’t achieve the kind of results we’ve had by not being united team. To win the race by the margin we did, to achieve a one-two, the fastest lap, pole position – you need to be working in total harmony to achieve those kinds of racing.”

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