Verstappen could leave Red Bull

13 February 2021 20:30:21 GMTPlus10

Red Bull chief Helmut Marko admits Max Verstappen's current deal contains a performance clause that would allow him to leave the team.

Verstappen is gearing up for his sixth campaign with Red Bull after stepping up from Toro Rosso five races into the 2016 campaign.

The Ducthman laid down a marker in his first drive for the Milton Keynes-based outfit, winning the Spanish Grand Prix, however, he hasn't been able to mount a serious challenge for the Drivers' Championship over the following years.

The 23-year-old has finished third in each of the last two seasons but the team have struggled to find him an adequate partner, although the arrival of Sergio Perez ahead of 2021 could help to steer them in the right direction.

Verstappen's exploits on the grid with Red Bull haven't gone unnoticed with their rivals and he has been linked with the likes of Ferrari and Mercedes in the past.

Marko has revealed they would be powerless to prevent Verstappen, who is under contract until 2023, from leaving if Red Bull fail to provide him with the tools to compete at the top of the field.

"Yes, there is a performance clause," Marko told F1-insider.com.

"I don’t want to go into details, but it more or less says that Max can compete for race wins and the world championship on his own merits. If he can do that, his contract is extended. If not, he would be free."

Verstappen can be backed at 2.10 to win the 2021 Drivers' Championship, while Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton is 1.72 to defend his crown and Valtteri Bottas is available at 34.00.

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