Verstappen was believed to have a performance clause in his contract, a three-year contract extension he signed in October of 2017 to drive for Red Bull Racing through the 2020 season, that would allow him to leave the team if they do not give him a car that is capable of winning this year’s championship.
Here are five possible candidates to drive for Red Bull Racing team next year.
1. Daniil Kvyat
Daniil Kvyat has done an exceptional job in his return season to Formula 1 after he was demoted from Red Bull Racing to Toro Rosso during the 2016 season when Max Verstappen was promoted and after he was cut from Toro Rosso before the 2017 season ended, ironically in favor of Pierre Gasly.
But aside of a few incidents late in his tenure driving for Red Bull Racing, he really didn’t perform all that poorly, and many people still feel that he was given a raw deal when Verstappen replaced him after just four races in the 2016 season.
2. Alexander Albon
Alexander Albon was all set to make his Formula E debut this season driving for Nissan e.dams, but Helmut Marko was able to negotiate with Nissan to get him out of his multi-year contract to drive for the team. As a result, the 23-year-old Thai-British driver made his Formula 1 debut instead.
To say the least, Albon has been impressive in his rookie season driving for Toro Rosso. While teammate Daniil Kvyat sits in ninth place in the driver standings with 27 points and Albon sits in 15th with 16, Albon has actually been the more consistent driver.
3. Valtteri Bottas
Valtteri Bottas is in his third consecutive season driving for Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport, and he is in his third consecutive contract season driving for the team.
The 29-year-old Finn signed a one-year contract extension in July of 2018 to drive for the Silver Arrows through the 2019 season, and this contract extension contains an additional one-year option that the team can pick up to keep him for a fourth straight year in 2020.
4. Nico Hulkenberg
Nico Hulkenberg was rumored as a possible replacement for Pierre Gasly at Red Bull Racing earlier in the year, but he called those rumors “fake news”. In fact, Gasly refuted these rumors as well, as did Helmut Marko.
5. Pierre Gasly
When it’s all said and done, Pierre Gasly might very well return to Red Bull Racing for the second consecutive season next year.
Both the Toro Rosso drivers, Daniil Kvyat and Alexander Albon, have already been cut by the Red Bull Racing organization before for different reasons. Truth be told, the fact that they were hired to drive for Toro Rosso this year seemed to stem from the fact that there was not much depth to their selection pool.
Source: Beyondthefla g