Contemporary Formula 1, full of young and highly talented drivers, is also made up of very long contracts. Charles Leclerc, Lando Norris And Max Verstappen, three of the strongest drivers on the grid and all under 25 years of age, have been armored in the millions by their respective teams. The Monegasque at the end of 2019 – after just one year at the wheel of Ferrari – had joined the Maranello team until the end of 2024. Norris recently signed an extension of his agreement with McLaren – which already expired at the end of 2023 – until the conclusion of the 2025 year. The reigning world champion even decided to stay with the Red Bull group until 2028. Agreements that, combined with that stipulated by George Russell with Mercedes until 2024, seem to indicate that the drivers market in the coming years for the top teams is rather static.
Inevitably, however, such long-lasting bonds foresee several loopholes in the event that one of the two parties, after a certain period of time, is no longer satisfied with the relationship. In the case of Red Bull, the easiest ‘escape route’ seems to be linked to the placements obtained. It was the same to explain it Helmut Markoa key figure in the management of drivers for the Milton Keynes team, who, to give an indication of the type of clauses in Verstappen’s contract, cited the precedent of Sebastian Vettel in 2014, when the German broke free to sign with Ferrari. “If Red Bull experiences some sort of ‘accident’, just like it did in 2014, then there is, of course, one escape clause“, The Austrian told the German site Formel1.
Having armored the reigning world champion until 2028, however, was one for Red Bull strategic move, regardless of the hypothetical Dutch exit clauses. “Max is an important link in the game of chess. It is not surprising that the builders take this into account – added Marko, making implicit reference to a possible agreement with Porsche for the supply of power units starting from 2026 – it was therefore important for Red Bull to be able to say that we have engaged the best driver in our team until 2028. If you have someone like Max in your ranks, this has a positive effect on the rest of the team and on the team’s partners. “he concluded.