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Max Verstappen breaches Red Bull contract ahead of Japanese GP as Helmut Marko slips up

Max Verstappen has been skiing in Japan ahead of this weekend’s Grand Prix at Suzuka Circuit, despite the fact a ban on dangerous sports is written into his Red Bull contract. Helmut Marko may have landed the Dutchman in trouble by revealing exactly how he was spending his downtime after a disappointing weekend in Australia.

Verstappen was passed by Carlos Sainz and forced to retire in Melbourne, denying him a record-equalling 10th consecutive Grand Prix win. The 26-year-old seemingly decided to console himself by indulging in a banned activity, with Marko revealing that he had been “skiing in the most marvellous, best deep snow in the world.”

When it was pointed out by OE24 that Verstappen’s Red Bull contract should have prevented him from skiing, Marko added: “I’ve already told you too much anyway…”

As recently as January this year, Verstappen shed light on the specifics of his lucrative Red Bull deal in an interview with Formule 1 magazine.

When told that footballers often have bans on skiing embedded in their contracts, Verstappen responded: “Me, too. No dangerous sports. There is a risk in everything. I haven’t skied in five years because of the risk of breaking or twisting something with all the consequences that entails.

“And of course also in the knowledge that there are still years to come in which I have a great chance of becoming champion again and winning races. If you think about that, you automatically take fewer risks.”

Last season saw Verstappen take pole position by more than half a second and win the Grand Prix by a huge margin. And the Red Bull man is optimistic about returning to winning ways.

“If you look at Melbourne performance-wise, we were quick, but we didn’t finish the race,” he said. “So that’s not ideal, but our car normally likes the higher-speed corners, so hopefully that you know we can show that again this weekend.”

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