Marko confirms Verstappen could be free to join Mercedes in 2022

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Red Bull advisor Helmut Marko has confirmed Max Verstappen does have a path to potentially joining Mercedes next year.

Just over a year ago, the Dutchman, who has been with Red Bull since 2016, committed to a new three-year deal at the Anglo-Austrian team until the end of 2023.

However, much like his previous contract, it was soon speculated that Verstappen had inserted certain exit clauses which could be triggered at the end of 2021.

"Yes, there is a performance clause," Marko confirmed to

"I don’t want to go into details, but it more or less says that Max can compete for race wins and the world championship on his own merits. If he can do that [with Red Bull], his contract is extended. If not, he would be free."

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It's for that reason it was suggested Lewis Hamilton was pushing for a 'Verstappen clause' during his recent contract talks with Mercedes, which only saw the seven-time world champion sign a one-year extension.

“There was never a moment where we thought he wouldn’t sign, and there was never a moment where he doubted it,” Mercedes boss Toto Wolff said about Hamilton's new deal after it was announced on Monday.

“On the specific clauses that were out there in the media, I don’t know where that came from because none of that is true.

“I actually read about this, I found it an interesting perspective but the truth is there was not a second of discussion about any driver-specific clause. He has never asked for that in the last eight years and it’s a team decision.

“The other clause about a revenue split or revenue share… it came out of nowhere and that rumour was baseless too, so none of that was ever part of our discussions.”

Regardless, Red Bull are confident they can meet the performance targets which would render Verstappen's potential escape clause useless.

"That’s our goal and I believe in it, not only because of Max, but because it’s in our DNA that we want to win," Marko stated.