Lewis Hamilton hit the headlines for all the wrong reasons 12 years ago when he took a massive dig at Red Bull. The Briton, who was driving for McLaren at the time, claimed (as reported by theguardian.com) that Red Bull was nothing more than a “beverage company“. While the 38-year-old admitted he was wrong (as reported by motorsport.com), the Milton Keynes-based outfit now appear to have made another statement of intent. Max Verstappen’s manager Raymond Vermeulen revealed in a recent interview on formule1.nl, how an energy drink manufacturer will make history in 2026 when it also produces its own F1 engines.
With the rules changing from the 2026 season onwards, Red Bull have a huge task on their hands as they will produce their own engines for the first time. The Austrian team announced a partnership with Ford earlier this year, which has confirmed the same. While there is uncertainty as to whether or not Red Bull will achieve their goals, Vermeulen explains why he is confident in the team’s work.
Max Verstappen’s manager explained why he believes in Red Bull’s vision
There have been several concerns over the length of Max Verstappen’s contract since he signed a long-term contract in 2022. That deal will expire at the end of the 2028 season. With doubts still lingering, Raymond Vermeulen was asked in a recent interview on formule.nl if it was a gamble for Verstappen to extend his contract, considering the fact that there will be a major rule change from the 2026 season onwards.
Verstappen’s manager responded emphatically “no” before adding “If an energy drink brand starts making their own engine, I think that’s a statement. And then if a deal like with Porsche doesn’t happen, it’s just: listen guys, we have a vision at Red Bull, we believe in it and we stick to that idea. That was another indicator for us that we are at the right club“.
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While there will undoubtedly continue to be huge uncertainty surrounding the new 2026 regulation changes, Verstappen dominates the sport right now, and in the near future it seems inevitable. The Dutchman has already claimed two consecutive titles and is on course for a third win this season.
12 years after Lewis Hamilton branded Red Bull a “simple drinks” company, Verstappen dominates the sport with the same team, while the Stevenage-born driver struggles at Mercedes.
What was Lewis Hamilton saying about Red Bull in 2011?
Just months after Red Bull won their first Drivers’ and Constructors’ Championship with Sebastian Vettel in 2010, Lewis Hamilton has claimed the Milton Keynes-based team’s dominance will soon come to an end. The Briton claimed that Ferrari and McLaren will not be able to tolerate a “beverage company» with no legacy dominating the sport.
“Red Bull is not a manufacturer. It’s a beverage company. It’s a drinks company versus the McLaren/Ferrari story. I don’t know what their plan is. Our team is being built to become a bigger manufacturer like Ferrari and I can see our team being there for a ridiculous amount of time,” Hamilton said (as quoted by theguardian.com) at the time.
Hamilton’s statement undoubtedly backfired as Red Bull went on to win three more world titles in three consecutive seasons. Furthermore, they are dominating F1 at the moment and have arguably had one of the most one-sided seasons of all time. Red Bull are on course to win their second successive Constructors’ Championship this season, having already opened up a 256-point lead over second-placed Mercedes going into the summer break.
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