Christian Horner sees no reason for Max Verstappen to change teams at the end of 2020, despite the Dutchman potentially set to become a key figure in what cold be the mother of all silly seasons in 2020.
With most of the grid out of contract at the end of next year, the driver merry-go-round has already started to crank into gear at the sharp end of the grid.
If that move were to go though, the Silver Arrows would doubtless look to try and sign Verstappen – they have done so twice before in the Dutchman's career – putting Red Bull at risk of losing their star man, with hints from the Verstappen camp that a switch could be sought if 2020 does not result in a title fight at least for the 22-year-old.
"Almost all the top drivers will be without a contract in 2021," Horner said. "But Max is happy here, he fits well with us.
"We have to give him a good car next year, so that we can keep him.
"Everyone should stay with the same team for the same money. [Charles] Leclerc is secure, Lewis is happy where he is, Max is happy. Why would they change?"
Verstappen's father Jos has hinted that 2020 will be Red Bull's last chance to keep Max, thoughts recently echoed by the team's former driver David Coulthard.
However, Horner is hanging his hat on 2020 being played out under the same rule book as 2019, which has seen Red Bull, in partnership with Honda for the first time, gain ground on Mercedes and Ferrari as the season has gone on.
"Because the rules remain the same, we hope that we can challenge Mercedes," he said.
"They are still the benchmark. Next year's car is almost the same as now, so things will not change significantly."
Verstappen is probably the fastest driver in F1 today and for the foreseeable future. Red Bull and Honda will have to dig deep and pay a lot of money to keep him. If Mercedes get Verstappen they will be near unstoppable for a long time, regardless of what Hamilton does.
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