A performance clause in Max Verstappen's contract with Red Bull Racing has ignited once again speculation that the Dutchman could leave the Milton Keynes-based outfit at the end of the season.
Verstappen's current deal with Red Bull extends to the end of 2020, but according to Spain's Marca, should the 21-year-old fail to win a Grand Prix by the summer break, that shortfall would allow Verstappen to part ways with his team at the end of this year.
Verstappen's manager, Raymond Vermeulen, confirmed the existence of the performance clause in his driver's favour.
"We confirm that there is a performance clause in the contract," Vermeulen told Dutch publication Formule 1.
"But we will not make any further statements about its content. Red Bull and Verstappen know exactly what the agreements entail."
Vermeulen insisted however that Verstappen remained committed to Red Bull, regardless of whether the performance clause is triggered or not.
"We want to become world champion with Red Bull," he added.
"We started with Red Bull in 2015 with the plan to become the youngest world champion ever and we want to continue to follow that plan.
"We are not only concerned about next year, but also the years afterwards. What will happen to Red Bull and what will happen to Honda? All elements are important."
Needless to say, speculation is rife in Austria regarding Max's future.
Many believe Mercedes is ready to pounce if Verstappen suddenly becomes available.
The opportunity for the Silver Arrows outfit to secure the Dutchman's services would likely force Valtteri Bottas' out of his seat.
But pundits in the media are also projecting who would replace Verstappen at Red Bull, kicking around the idea that Sebastian Vettel could return to his old team while Ferrari would slot in none other than Fernando Alonso into the German driver's seat!
The silly season is now properly in overdrive…