2019 is going to be a rough year for Red Bull. After years of performing and under performing with the Renault power unit, the team has finally decided it is time to let go of the engine manufacture especially since Renault is competing as a team itself. They’ve switched to Honda, a company which has struggled even more, compared to Renault. Along with the new Honda engine also comes a new driver to the team. Frenchman Pierre Gasly was announced as the replacement of departing Daniel Ricciardo, who will be setting his foots into the Renault car. In this great shuffle, the person who’s been caught out has been Red Bull’s star driver Max Verstappen, who will be expected to lead the team being merely 21 years (in 2019).
He’s won a race or two since his induction in the Red Bull team, but it seems tough for him to repeat it next year. He himself said he has no expectations from Honda and it will only be in 2020 when the engine manufacturer becomes competitive. 2020 will also happen to be the last year of Verstappen’s contract.
It has now emerged in Autosprint that Verstappen’s contract mentions that if Honda underperforms, he could leave the team before his contract ends, that is there is an exit clause based on how Honda performs.
Verstappen is one of the top performing drivers on the grid and will be an instant grab if he becomes available. Red Bull will certainly be looking to avoid the situation. Time and time again, they’ve mentioned how much faith they have in Honda and that the team will certainly shine above Renault and others in the next couple of years to come.
With Ricciardo gone, Verstappen is Red Bull’s only chance of bringing the team back to its former glory and considering his stay is conditional as well, things dont look very promising for the team.