Ver­stap­pen ex­tends con­tract to 2023

Diamond Fields Advertiser - - Sport - REUTERS ASHFAK MO­HAMED

MAX VER­STAP­PEN has signed to stay at Red Bull un­til the end of 2023 in a clear vote of con­fi­dence in the for­mer world cham­pi­ons’ For­mula One ti­tle po­ten­tial and their Honda part­ner­ship.

The an­nounce­ment on Tues­day leaves two of the top three teams with young driver ta­lent se­cure for the long-term, with Fer­rari an­nounc­ing in De­cem­ber that Charles Le­clerc was stay­ing to 2024.

“I am re­ally happy to have ex­tended my part­ner­ship with the team.

“Red Bull be­lieved in me and gave me the op­por­tu­nity to start in For­mula One which I have al­ways been very grate­ful for,” Ver­stap­pen, 22, said in a state­ment.

“Over the years I have grown closer and closer to the team, and be­sides the pas­sion from ev­ery­one and the on-track per­for­mance it is also re­ally en­joy­able to work with such a great group of peo­ple.

“Honda com­ing on board and the progress we have made over the last 12 months gives me even more mo­ti­va­tion and the be­lief that we can win to­gether… I want to win with Red Bull and our goal is of course to fight for a World Cham­pi­onship to­gether.”

Red Bull fin­ished third last year in the first sea­son of a new part­ner­ship with Honda, which proved an im­me­di­ate suc­cess af­ter the Ja­panese man­u­fac­turer’s failed re­la­tion­ship with Mclaren.

Ver­stap­pen was best of the rest be­hind Mercedes driv­ers Lewis Hamil­ton and Valt­teri Bot­tas.

The ru­mour mill will now fo­cus more on six-time world cham­pion Hamil­ton, who is out of con­tract at the end of this year, and the fu­ture of Le­clerc’s four-time cham­pion team­mate Se­bas­tian Vet­tel.

Ver­stap­pen won three races last year, and now has a ca­reer to­tal of eight F1 vic­to­ries, and is seen as a cham­pion-in-wait­ing.

The Dutch­man, who in 2016 be­came the youngest ever race win­ner in the sport’s his­tory, had been linked to both Fer­rari and Mercedes in pad­dock spec­u­la­tion.

He may have dam­aged his Fer­rari chances, how­ever, by ac­cus­ing the Ital­ian team of cheat­ing with their en­gine last sea­son – com­ments that went down badly at Maranello.

Mercedes, who also have Bot­tas out of con­tract at the end of 2020, are wait­ing on Hamil­ton – who turned 35 yes­ter­day and has had talks with Fer­rari chair­man John Elkann – to de­cide on his next move.

For­mula One is about to en­ter a new era next year with sweep­ing rule changes and what own­ers Lib­erty Me­dia hope will be a more level play­ing field.

“With the chal­lenge of the 2021 reg­u­la­tion changes on the hori­zon con­ti­nu­ity in as many ar­eas as pos­si­ble is key,” com­mented team prin­ci­pal Chris­tian Horner.

“Max has proven what an as­set he is to the team, he truly be­lieves in the part­ner­ship we have forged with our en­gine sup­plier Honda, and we are de­lighted to have ex­tended our re­la­tion­ship with him.”

CRICKET South Africa (CSA) has re­it­er­ated its pol­icy of sup­port­ing Test matches be­ing played over four days in­stead of five.

The gov­ern­ing body re­leased a state­ment yes­ter­day morn­ing in re­sponse to a story in the Daily Mail news­pa­per in the UK, which stated that CSA would be against an In­ter­na­tional Cricket Coun­cil (ICC) pro­posal to make four-day Tests manda­tory from 2023.

The ar­ti­cle stated that Eng­land and Aus­tralia would face op­po­si­tion from CSA if they for­mally en­dorsed the pro­posal, which would be dis­cussed by the ICC Cricket Com­mit­tee this year.

The re­port went on to say that CSA felt that four-day Tests “would make draws more likely, en­cour­age neg­a­tive tactics and pose a threat to spin bowlers. South Africa also play fewer Tests than Eng­land, so have less need to cre­ate space in the cal­en­dar.”

But Cricket SA de­nied the story yes­ter­day, say­ing in a brief state­ment: “In view of an un­sourced and mis­lead­ing re­port in the Me­dia this morn­ing please be ad­vised that it is Cricket South Africa’s of­fi­cial pol­icy to sup­port four-day Test match cricket.

“We, in fact, hosted the first of­fi­cial four-day Test match be­tween our­selves and Zim­babwe a cou­ple of years ago.” That match, a day-night en­counter in De­cem­ber 2017 at St Ge­orge’s Park in Port El­iz­a­beth, last just two days, with the Proteas win­ning by an in­nings and 120 runs.

Ai­den Markram scored 125, while Morné Morkel and Ke­shav Ma­haraj claimed five-wicket hauls.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.