Marko pleased by end to Verstappen 'clause' uncertainty

Max Verstappen (NLD) Red Bull Racing with Dr Helmut Marko (AUT) Red Bull Motorsport Consultant.
© XPB 

Red Bull motorsports consultant Dr Helmut Marko has acknowledged that he's relieved to see an end to speculation that Max Verstappen could quit the team as soon as the end of this season.

There had been reports that the driver had a performance clause in his current contract that could see him leave the squad a year earlier than planned.

But reports in the European media suggest that the clause expired on Sunday at the Hungarian Grand Prix.

With Verstappen putting in another storming performance and coming close to thwarting a win for Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton, the clause has not been triggered - meaning Verstappen is now committed to the team for 2020.

"Having the clause was normal, as we had a new engine supplier," Marko explained in Budapest. "And of course, performance is important.

"That's nice [to put the uncertainty of the clause behind us], but within the team we had already agreed that we should continue," he told Germany's website.

Unfortunately the same can't be said about Verstappen's current team mate Pierre Gasly, who joined the team at the start of the season but whose form has proven frustratingly inconsistent.

Red Bull boss Christian Horner has made in clear this week that Gasly needs to improve and contribute to the team's campaign to challenge Mercedes and Ferrari in the constructors championship.

"If we want to have a chance in the constructors’ championship against Ferrari, it is essential that we have two competitive cars," Horner explained.

Pierre Gasly (FRA) Red Bull Racing with Christian Horner (GBR) Red Bull Racing Team Principal.

"We need [Pierre] to be racing Ferraris and Mercedes," he said. "We shouldn’t be fighting against Saubers and McLarens."

Horner admitted that Gasly had never been in touch with Hamilton and Verstappen all afternoon.

"The problem is he is not in the mix at all," he said. "It is not like if Lewis pitted he was going to come out behind him."

Gasly lost positions at the start of the race, but made up ground during the afternoon and finished in sixth place - where he had started, and a lap down from his team mate.

"It is incredibly difficult to overtake [at the Hungaroring]," Marko said of Gasly's performance this week. "At the start he lost the positions, and then there was nothing left he could do.

"He is not the best overtaking man either. It has been seen by others how hard they have been. So yes, lost at the start."

As to whether another mediocre performance from Gasly might have sealed the Frenchman's fate when it comes to a contract extension with the team, Marko said nothing had yet been decided.

"Let's go to the summer break, then we'll keep looking," he said.

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