Date: 21st October 2017 at 10:30am
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Just before Free Practice One in Austin on Friday, there was a big announcement regarding Max Verstappen.

Many people in the paddock had envisaged a great driver shake-up in 2019.

Mercedes and Ferrari both appeared to have been geared up to this, with neither Lewis Hamilton or Valterri Bottas locked in beyond 2018 and they same had been said regarding Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel.

Meanwhile at Red Bull Racing, Daniel Ricciardo is also out-of-contract after 2018 and whilst Max Verstappen was contracted to 2019, it was widely believed he out a get out clause.

The first movement came when Vettel signed a new multi-year deal with Ferrari placing him with Ferrari until 2020.

With Ferrari’s mantra always to have a number one driver, that appeared to limit the possibility of either Ricciardo or Verstappen going there.

Mercedes and Hamilton have both nodded towards a new deal for the current championship leader and whilst Mercedes are more open to duelling team-mates, why change a winning formula needlessly?

So even with uncertainty regarding Red Bull Racing’s engine suppliers beyond 2018, Max Verstappen the hottest commodity in Formula One has committed to a new contract that spans to 2020.

‘Red Bull has always shown their faith and belief in me with actions, They have always backed me and my ambition and I know we share that ambition. I’m very happy to commit further to Red Bull Racing and I’m looking forward to working together to enjoy more success in the years to come.’ Verstappen told Sky Sports.

Red Bull team advisor Helmut Marko added: ‘We gave him his first chance in Formula 1 and now we want to be, together with Max, the youngest world champion. We saw his potential, he is still developing, he believes in the team and we extended the contract until 2020,’

On the engine situation Marko added: ‘Of course we discussed everything with Max. He knows what our plans are, he knows what are alternatives are, and this convinced him to extend the contract,’