Max Verstappen drops clearest hint yet on chances of quitting Red Bull for Mercedes | F1 | Sport

The reigning world champion holds a 100 per cent record in 2024 heading into the third round of the season and sits comfortably atop the Drivers’ Championship standings, but there have still been considerable issues in the Red Bull camp.

The ongoing Christian Horner saga has caused his father, Jos Verstappen, to publicly speak out, and threatened – albeit shortly – the future of close ally Helmut Marko, who was placed under investigation in Jeddah.

With Marko now cleared of any wrongdoing in the leaking of the Horner messages that circulated the paddock, Verstappen has been freed up to repair relations at Red Bull, with whom he holds a contract until the end of 2028.

“I think there’s every reason to be happy,” Verstappen said in Melbourne. “The car is going really well. There’s so many great people in the team that are constantly pushing for better results.

“That’s what I focus on. I focus on the performance, I’m happy, and when I go home I don’t think about any other thing because it’s pretty fixed where I am. And that’s also where I want to be.”

This will not boost Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff’s hopes of landing Verstappen. The Silver Arrows had hoped to capitalise on the tensions at Red Bull to lure the reigning champion to Brackley as a replacement for the Ferrari-bound Lewis Hamilton, but this now looks unlikely.

Verstappen’s Red Bull team-mate, Sergio Perez, also offered his thoughts on the speculation. “Max, as far as I know, has a contract with the team and is fully committed with the team and the rest, I think it’s not for me to comment,” he explained.

“It’s nothing to do with me. I’m focusing on my decisions and what I have to do. And I think for us to be talking about other drivers when we don’t know any facts, I don’t see any point to do so.”

Instead, Perez will be keen to focus on his own future. The 34-year-old is out of contract come the end of the season but has started the 2024 campaign strong, securing back-to-back P2 finishes. 

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