Red Bull team principal Christian Horner believes Max Verstappen will not have his head turned by potential opportunities at rival outfits Mercedes and Ferrari.
Verstappen, whose current Red Bull deal runs through 2019, has been subject of long-standing interest from the Silver Arrows – and has also been repeatedly linked with the Italian manufacturer,
The Dutchman has endured a frustrating 2017 so far, with his RB13 plagued by reliability issues and the team struggling to match Mercedes and Ferrari on pure pace on a regular basis.
Asked whether he believed Verstappen could eventually be tempted to join one of Red Bull's two main rivals, Horner said: “I don't think so. I think he can see what's going on.
“He's impatient like any youngster but he's objective enough to know that there's good stuff in the pipeline.
“And from where we started the season to where we are now, the trajectory has been right there as soon as we sorted out the issues with correlation from earlier in the year. We've seen very sharp progress.”
Verstappen has on several occasions voiced his frustrations with how his season has unfolded so far – and also expressed worries about the future.
Among other things, the Dutchman had admitted to being “concerned” over whether Red Bull's engine partner Renault would deliver for 2018 – and said he was “losing confidence” in the current situation after a clutch issue in Austria.
Horner acknowledges that Red Bull delivering a car Verstappen can win in is a prerequisite for retaining him past the end of his current deal.
Asked about the a contract extension for Verstappen, Horner said: “What's reflected on a piece of paper has to reflect desire from both sides.
“There's no point talking past the end of Max's current contract at the moment, because it's down to us to provide him with a car that he can compete and win in.
“And I'm sure if we do that, I don't think there's any other team that Max would rather be in.”
Additional reporting by Erwin Jaeggi and Jonathan Noble