Verstappen hits back over Red Bull Ford engine project amid 2026 speculation

Max Verstappen is contracted to stay with Red Bull until the end of 2028, three seasons into the new 2026 F1 regulations

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Max Verstappen insists he’s not worried about the competitiveness of Red Bull‘s Ford engines from 2026 onwards, adding he’s focussing on racing and can’t speculate on everything outside his control.

Red Bull have kept their powertrain development in-house after Honda withdrew from Formula 1 at the end of 2021, but will welcome Ford as partners for the new regulations coming into effect at the end of next season.

With the Adrian Newey-led design team looking as strong as ever, a power shortage seems the only thing that can slow Red Bull and Verstappen down as he hunts his fourth world title in four years in 2024, but the Dutchman is confident in his team.

“I mean, if I have to speculate about everything, I might be worried if I’m still alive tomorrow, right?” Verstappen told the media. “So I don’t really worry about that too much because I am in close contact also, with Christian [Horner] about that.

“Everyone’s working flat out so there is no need to panic about that, and also it’s still not 2026. We know that it is a very big task, we don’t take that lightly and of course, with so many well-established engine manufacturers.

“We don’t think it’s going to be easy to beat them but we have a lot of good people working on the project and we’re very excited about it so time will tell it goes where it’s going to be.”

Verstappen feeling good with the car

Max Verstappen celebrates victory after the 2024 Saudi Arabian GP | Clive Rose / Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

Verstappen had enjoyed a remarkable run of strong reliability with Red Bull prior to the 2024 Australian Grand Prix, with his last retirement due to a mechanical failure coming two years earlier in Melbourne.

The 26-year-old was on an incredible winning run of nine successive races and will still be the driver to beat next time out at the 2024 Japanese GP, despite Ferrari‘s 1-2 at Albert Park.

“I don’t really think about being invincible,” said Verstappen. “As a driver, you always have to believe that you’re the best on the grid. But at the other end, I’m not really too worried about thinking that way. I’m just enjoying myself, I feel good with the car and I guess that’s enough.

“I know that when I get to the race weekend that, I always try to do the best I can, I try to really maximise everything that I can. And of course, when you then have a great car, and you’re able to do great things.”

Adam Dickinson
Adam Dickinson
An international multi-award-winning journalist, Adam Dickinson has written for Total-Motorsport.com since June 2022 and also contributes to TNT Sports, Eurosport and the Rugby Paper. He's also had articles published in the Daily Telegraph and several local newspapers, previously worked for Last-Lap.co.uk and FeederSeries.net in motorsport, and graduated with a First-Class Journalism Degree from the University of Sheffield having also studied in Oklahoma. Adam started watching F1 by accident in 2007, catching the last race in Indianapolis, and attended his first race as a journalist at the 2023 British Grand Prix.
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