Verstappen: It's important to be "loyal" to Red Bull

Max Verstappen has downplayed speculation of a future outside the Red Bull fold, underlining the importance of being “loyal” to the organisation that gave him his Formula 1 break.

After an impressive rookie campaign with Toro Rosso last year, Verstappen is thought to be on the radar of a number of top teams for 2017 as numerous contracts come up for renewal.

Ferrari is one team with which the young Dutchman has been repeatedly linked, especially with Kimi Raikkonen under pressure to prove he deserves to remain at the Scuderia beyond this season.

But speaking in Melbourne on Thursday, Verstappen said he saw no reason to consider moving outside of the Red Bull teams.

"I'm very happy with Red Bull," said the 18-year-old. "I don't see any reason to change that – you also have to be loyal, you know.

"They gave me the chance to start in Formula 1, which was my dream, and I'm very happy to be here."

Pressed on a possible Ferrari move, he added: "No - like I said, I'm very happy at Red Bull. And we'll see what happens in the future."

Lack of engine development a "challenge"

With Toro Rosso switching from Renault to Ferrari power for the new season, Verstappen said the team was "very happy" about the step in performance, but admitted a lack of development on the year-old power units could stymie progress.

"Other teams will improve just by getting a bit more horsepower throughout the season," he said. "Then it's for us a bigger challenge, of course, to improve the car more than the other teams.

"So that's a good challenge for us, to keep pushing."

Asked how the Faenza team would handle having to switch its focus to the 2017 regulations, Verstappen added: "You make choices, but at the end of the day I think you still always have some updates coming.

"For sure you have to look to 2017 as well because I think that will be a very important year too. But I think every year is very important.

"It also depends a bit where you are. If you have a few teams in front of you and you don't have really a lot pressure from behind, it's maybe not necessary to improve that much.

"We just have to wait and see where we are and from there on the team will plan what they will do."

Additional reporting by Andrew van Leeuwen

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Event Australian GP
Track Melbourne Grand Prix Circuit
Drivers Max Verstappen
Teams Toro Rosso , Red Bull Racing
Article type Breaking news