- Helmut Marko has confirmed that Max Verstappen has an exit clause in his new Formula 1 contract.

The 2021 F1 champion signed committed his long term future to the team until 2028 after signing a new deal with Red Bull ahead of the season.

Famously, Sebastian Vettel had an exit clause in his contract in 2014 which allowed him to switch to Ferrari for the following season.

While Red Bull finished second in the constructors’ championship, 300 points behind Mercedes, Vettel slumped to fifth in the drivers’ championship without a race win, compared to teammate Daniel Ricciardo who won three times.

Marko revealed that if Red Bull struggled for performance then Verstappen would be allowed to leave the team. 

Marko said to Formel1.de: “Of course. If we experience a ‘crash’ like in 2014, when we had absolutely no chance against Mercedes on the engine side, then it’s clear there is an escape clause.”

- According to reports in the German press, Audi has improved its bid to secure a stake in the McLaren Formula 1 team.

German automotive newspaper Automobilwoche, as reported by RacingNews365, states that Audi is offering 650 million euros -  up from 450 million euros - to secure a stake in the F1 team.

Volkswagen Group brands Audi and Porsche have been exploring entering F1 ahead of the new 2026 engine rules.

Porsche has been linked with Red Bull, while Audi remains heavily associated with McLaren.

- According to AMuS, only Alfa Romeo is at the 798kg minimum weight limit for this year.

Red Bull and Mercedes are understood to be 15kg overweight, while current championship leaders Ferrari is 10kg above the minimum threshold. 

McLaren and Haas are 5kg above it.

- Christian Horner has described the timing of Ricciardo’s decision to leave Red Bull as “spectacularly bad”.

In an interview with Australia’s Daily Telegraph, Horner said: “We put offers in front of him that were stratospheric,” Horner said. “But Daniel could see Max (Verstappen) in the ascendancy and he didn't want to become the second driver.

“His timing was spectacularly bad because obviously, he had doubts about the Honda engine and then [Honda] went on to prove there it was a competitive power unit and a race-winning package.”

After more reliability woes at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, Fernando Alonso will be forced to take a third ICE for Melbourne this weekend. (Autohebdo)

- Organisers of the Sepang International Circuit say they have no intention of hosting a Formula 1 grand prix again in the future. (Bernama)

Malaysia last hosted an F1 race in 2016 but hasn’t made a return since despite strong support from fans.

"We should look at the big picture holistically, at how F1 can benefit not only the company but also Malaysia in terms of branding, ability to provide employment opportunities, talent development and others.

"So, when we pay for the relatively high (F1) organising rights, the return should be high overall, not only from the SIC aspect."

- George Russell believes Mercedes can still be ‘the team to beat’ once it solves its current issues.

As quoted by The Independent, Russell said: “Even if it goes all the way into the summer break, you’ve got so many races after that.

“If we continue to maximise our points and damage limitation to be within touching distance, if we come out and suddenly resolve all our issues and we are the team to beat, there’s no reason why we can’t overturn the deficit.

“We all have excitement that a solution can be found.”