“As with all these things, though, to force a driver that doesn’t want to be there, it’s more about relationships than contracts.
“You only pull a contract out of a drawer when you’ve got a problem, in my experience.”
In theory, Verstappen’s contract isn’t up for discussion until the end of the 2023 season, and Christian Horner says the 23-year-old, who finished 3rd in the drivers’ standings last season, has a strong relationship with the team.
But when it all shakes out, is the idea of having a very fast Max Verstappen alongside a very promising George Russell too much of a pull for the Mercedes team bosses?
The season gets underway in just a few weeks time in Bahrain, in what could be a career defining year for Valtteri Bottas.