Max Verstappen says he had no specific plans to exit the Red Bull fold at the end of the 2016 season as he prepares to make his much anticipated Red Bull Racing debut at the Spanish Grand Prix.
The Dutchman has been promoted to the Red Bull Racing team just four rounds into the 2016 season, replacing Daniil Kvyat who heads in the other direction to re-join the Toro Rosso team he started his F1 career with in 2014.
With many seeing the switch as a means of ensuring the highly-rated Verstappen is not tempted away from Red Bull, the 18 year-old nonetheless insists he wasn't considering his future options when the call came to move.
“I was always very happy at Red Bull,” said Verstappen, who is understood to have had interest from Ferrari. “I never saw reason to change and of course with this opportunity there is no reason to change so I'm happy to be here.”
Reflecting on whether moving to the four-time world championship winning team will bring its own challenges, Verstappen is confident he won't let the pressure get to him.
“I wouldn't say more pressure to be honest. Of course I'm driving for a top Team now, but in the end you always try to do your best which is what I always try to do. For me, I don't feel more pressure.
“I go to Spain with no expectations. I just want to adapt to the car, understand it better and better every session, study the data and see what my teammate [Daniel Ricciardo] is doing because the most important thing is to score points.”
Helmut Marko, meanwhile, has revealed growing unease between Verstappen and Toro Rosso team-mate Carlos Sainz was also a factor in the decision to reshuffle the driver line-ups. Read more below.