Max Verstappen says he's already discussing his F1 future with Red Bull for 2017 and beyond before the new season has even begun.
The teenage sensation demonstrated his worth in F1 after becoming the youngest-ever driver in the sport with an eye-catching rookie campaign for Toro Rosso having jumped straight from the European Formula 3 championship.
After two near-misses on a maiden podium, with two fourth places in Hungary and Texas, Verstappen captured F1's attention with his incredible race craft and gained huge plaudits for a series of overtakes.
With a lot expected from the 18-year-old with a year of experience under his belt, Verstappen is one of the hottest driver properties available as his contract is up for renewal this season.
“It is all looking very good for the future. I am very happy that I have one more year here to learn and I am very happy with that and then you guys will have to see what happens next year,” Verstappen told Crash.net.
Asked whether contract negotiations had already started, he replied: “We already have done. Of course, I have a contract with Red Bull and I am very happy where I am exactly."
Toro Rosso team principal Franz Tost has hinted Verstappen could step up to join Red Bull sooner rather than later but the Dutch star says he's happy just to focus on a second year learning in F1.
“Red Bull wants to win races again - and championships,” he told F1.com. “They certainly do not want to stay where they are right now. They do have a fantastic car so let's get the engine solved and in the future they will be winning again. No doubt about that.
“But I am very happy where I am now and it is looking all good for the future, so I don't need to worry too much. Doing another year with Toro Rosso is good for learning, so I would judge my situation as being very positive.”