Max Verstappen says it doesn’t make sense to think about the impact of Honda’s Formula 1 departure on his future, as the manufacturer isn’t leaving until the end of 2021.
The Dutchman has a contract with Red Bull that runs until the end of 2023, and Honda’s decision to leave F1 has fuelled speculation that it could prompt Verstappen to look elsewhere.
But while there is uncertainty about what Red Bull’s engine plans are from the start of 2022, Verstappen said it would be foolish to start worrying about what he should do so far in advance of that date.
“I just focus on this season and next season, I think that’s the most important,” said Verstappen. “What happens after that is so far that it doesn’t make sense to think about that yet.”
While Honda’s exit has left question marks about Red Bull’s ability to become a long-term challenger to Mercedes, Verstappen says he still has full faith in what can be done before the end of 2021.
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Asked if the decision had impacted his confidence in Red Bull, Verstappen said: “It doesn’t at the moment. I mean we’re still driving with them for another one-and-a-half years, and also after that we have got the new regulations of the cars coming in.
“So there are so many unknowns on that at the moment, it doesn’t make sense to think about that. Anyway, I’m just focused on what I have to do and that’s try and drive the car as fast as I can with an engine in the back.
“I hope I’m not going to end up like Fred Flintstone that I have to pedal it myself. It’s quite physically demanding I think! And then we’ll see again, you know, after next year.”
While a switch of power unit suppliers for 2022 is not ideal for Red Bull as it seeks the opportunities available from F1’s new rules package, Verstappen says the team should not be hindered too much because it has experience of changing engine partners.
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“We don’t know at the moment how it is going to look like,” he said. “But I don’t necessarily see it as a negative. Let’s find out.
“We learned a lot from the different engine manufacturers we’ve had so far. And at the moment I think it’s all a bit unknown of what we’re going to do. Are we going to take another engine? I don’t know.”