Christian Horner says Red Bull will ignore speculation about Mercedes potentially trying to recruit Max Verstappen if space becomes available in the reigning champions’ Formula 1 roster.
Lewis Hamilton signing a one-year contract to race for Mercedes in 2021 means the two Black Arrows seats are potentially up for grabs next year after the team gave Valtteri Bottas another one-year contract that will cover his services for the current campaign.
While Verstappen has a deal with Red Bull that runs until the end of 2023, Horner recently said that after 2021 “if Lewis decides to stop, Max would naturally be the top driver” to replace Mercedes. for the world. champion.
When asked if he had any concerns about speculation about Verstappen’s future at Red Bull in an exclusive interview for the current issue of TBEN magazine, Horner said: “I think I’ve been here too long. for worrying too much about what other people are doing.
“The most important thing for us is to care about what we are doing.
“And it is extremely important for ourselves, and obviously for Max, to take advantage of the potential that we have demonstrated. This is our goal.
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“I don’t really care about speculation. It’s, ‘we have to control the things that we have at our disposal and we have to maximize our own performance’, which is absolutely our combined target for this year.”
Red Bull heads into the 2021 season after securing two wins last year, with Verstappen winning the season final in Abu Dhabi on pole – the only time the team has dominated qualifying all year.
But that success followed Red Bull’s choice to develop its RB16 car throughout 2020, while Mercedes chose to stop updating its W11 challenger after the Belgian Grand Prix last August.
Speaking of Red Bull’s work since the Abu Dhanbi race, Horner said “it was a severe winter – with the whole COVID situation as well”.
He added: “It has been busy. The team has done a great job working on the challenges that we have been facing. Overall I think we are in reasonable shape.
“I think we’ve been helped by the fact that a large percentage of regulations are being deferred, which is unusual.”
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Horner also explained how the team continued their preparations for 2021 during the current restrictions required by the UK’s COVID-19 lockdown.
“We were lucky, we had very few people with corona,” he said.
“And we are also lucky to have a large site on which we were able to distribute Internet users. [around Red Bull’s Milton Keynes base].
“But, of course, we had a combination in that the manufacturing function remained largely intact, and the designer and support functions either worked on a rotational basis or worked from home.”
The full interview with Christian Horner is included in this week’s issue of TBEN magazine, available in store and online.