Max Verstappen will remain with Red Bull Racing for at least the next three Formula 1 seasons after agreeing an extension to his current contract, announced on Friday.
Verstappen, 20, was fast-tracked into F1 as a 17-year-old back in 2015 with Red Bull’s B-team, Toro Rosso, before moving up to its front-running operation at last year’s Spanish Grand Prix.
Verstappen was victorious on debut for Red Bull, becoming the youngest grand prix winner in F1 history in the process, and has followed this up with a second win for the team in Malaysia at the start of this month.
Known to be out of contract at the end of next year, speculation was already rife about Verstappen’s future given his ability and potential, only for Red Bull to end it early by surprising the F1 paddock with an announcement ahead of practice for the United States Grand Prix.
“Red Bull has always shown their faith and belief in me with actions; inviting me in to the young driver programme as a 16-year-old, then giving me my start in Formula 1 when I was just 17, and then the opportunity to race with Red Bull Racing where I had such a dream start with this team,” Verstappen said.
“They have always backed me and my ambition and I know we share that ambition. Their support, from the guys and girls in the factory through to the crew in the garage, no matter what plays out on the race track, has always been 100 per cent.
“We’ve also had some fun times! I’m very happy to commit further to Red Bull Racing and I’m looking forward to working together to enjoy more success in the years to come.”
“We are delighted that Max has agreed to extend his contract with Red Bull Racing. We had a phenomenal start together in Spain last year and Max has only pushed on from there,” Red Bull team boss Christian Horner said.
“It was a great moment for the whole team to see him put the frustrations of this season behind him in taking that fantastic victory in Malaysia last month.
“He is pure racer, with an undeniable talent at the wheel and a rare instinct for what it takes to compete consistently at this level.
“Coupled with a committed work ethic and a mature approach to learning his craft that belies his years, Max is right to be hungry for success and we are looking forward to extending that journey with him in our hunt for Formula 1 World Championships.
“As we now look to the long term with Max he is in the best place in the sport to build a team around him to deliver our shared ambition.”
Verstappen’s confirmation makes him only the second driver to have an F1 deal in place beyond the end of next season, the other being Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel.