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‘I’m very happy where I’m at’ – Verstappen reiterates focus on future with Red Bull as he assesses challenge posed by McLaren

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SPIELBERG, AUSTRIA - JUNE 27: Max Verstappen of the Netherlands and Oracle Red Bull Racing attends

Max Verstappen has reiterated that he remains focused on working with Red Bull into the future, with the Dutchman stating that he and the team are already looking to improve further for the 2025 season.

While Verstappen is signed to race with the squad through to the end of 2028, this has not prevented speculation from emerging over his future in the sport. Mercedes are one of the teams to be linked to the Dutchman, with team boss Toto Wolff previously commenting that he would “love” to have Verstappen at the Silver Arrows.

PALMER: Verstappen’s Spanish GP win proved he's making the difference right now – not his car

However, when asked ahead of this weekend’s Austrian Grand Prix if he wanted to bring a close to the matter by confirming that he will remain with Red Bull, Verstappen responded: “I think I’ve said this before, naturally of course people are talking, but it’s most important just that we have a very competitive car for the future.

“At the moment of course it’s very tight, but we are working well as a team to try and improve more. And for sure, I’ve said this already but the team, we are working and focusing also on next year to try and be competitive again.”

Verstappen was then quizzed on whether he would consider leaving the Milton Keynes-based outfit should they no longer have the fastest car come the end of the season.

BARCELONA, SPAIN - JUNE 23: Max Verstappen of the Netherlands driving the (1) Oracle Red Bull

Verstappen has a contract to race with Red Bull through to the end of 2028

“I don’t think that’s how Formula 1 works, where suddenly you can say, ‘Bye guys,’” the world champion answered. “That’s not how it works. I have a long contract with the team, I’m very happy where I'm at.

“Like I said before, we are focusing already on next year with things that we can implement on the car, so I guess that should say enough for where I’m driving next year.”

READ MORE: Verstappen pinpoints moment that ‘made my race’ after beating Norris to Spanish GP win

Red Bull’s closest challenge for being the quickest on the grid currently looks to be coming from McLaren, with Lando Norris finishing second to Verstappen last time out in Barcelona.

Reflecting on the strengths of the papaya squad, Verstappen acknowledged that there are particular areas where Red Bull need to improve in order to keep them at bay.

“McLaren at the moment are just very solid,” the 26-year-old said. “They're good everywhere, every single track. Also I think you could see in Barcelona, they were very good on their tyres.

BARCELONA, SPAIN - JUNE 23: Max Verstappen of Netherlands and Oracle Red Bull Racing shakes hands

Verstappen fended off the challenge from Norris to take victory in the Spanish Grand Prix

“They could just push more on them compared to everyone else on the grid without actually [degrading] that much in the end of stints, because even the last stint, my last few laps were quite a struggle – Lando was definitely catching up a lot.

“So these are things that we have to do better, also of course our known issues with the kerbs and bumps, low-speed basically. These are things we’ll try to understand better for next year.”

TREMAYNE: How a teenage Verstappen reigned in Spain and rewrote the record books with Red Bull

With the Sprint format set to return this weekend in Austria, the teams and drivers will have just one free practice session available to them. And while Red Bull do not appear to have enjoyed straightforward Fridays at recent events, Verstappen is optimistic that they could come out on top at their home race.

“I would say Barcelona, we had just a normal weekend, we were just too slow,” he added. “We tried to keep on making adjustments and luckily I think in qualifying it all felt a bit better. That was probably just the normal progression that you have throughout the weekend.

“Before that we had some messy weekends, so we cannot afford that anymore, so I just hope for a clean weekend like we did in Barcelona but hopefully a bit more pace.”

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