Max Verstappen says he could “feel” Honda’s Formula 1 exit coming and remains relaxed about his future prospects with Red Bull.

The Japanese manufacturer confirmed its shock departure from F1 at the end of the 2021 season last week, leaving Red Bull and its sister team AlphaTauri requiring a new power unit supplier from 2022.

Verstappen pledged his future to Red Bull until the end of 2023 over the winter and said he only had an inkling that Honda could pull out after agreeing to his new deal.

“It came after I signed the deal but they never committed a lot longer so you could expect something like this,” Verstappen said. “You’re never sure.

“That’s the same for teams a well, you sign a deal with them but who knows what is happening in five years’ time. It is what it is.

“You could feel it coming. I guess the situation in the whole wide world is not helping. Especially from the beginning of this year onwards, once we finally got started, it’s just not easy.”

Verstappen is confident Honda will not back off in its efforts next year, with the Japanese company confirming it will develop a brand new engine for 2021.

“We just keep on pushing, that’s also what they said,” he added. “Of course they are going to pull out but they’re not going to back off now. We just keep working together because we have a great relationship so it’s really enjoyable to work with the guys.

“So for the rest of the year we just keep on going. And also for next year, introducing the new engine, I’m very much looking forward to that as well to just bring it to a good end and basically push until the last race.”

Despite concerns about both Red Bull and Verstappen’s futures in the sport, the Dutchman insisted the team can still be successful whichever direction it ultimately takes.

“We are still driving with them for one-and-a-half years,” he explained. “And after that we have got the new regulations of the cars coming in so there are so many unknowns. At the moment it doesn’t make sense to think about that.

“I’m just focused on what I have to do and that’s try and drive the car as fast as I can. With an engine in the back – I hope I don’t end up like Fred Flinstone that I have to pedal it myself.”

 

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