Max Verstappen has teased when he plans to retire from Formula One altogether. Ahead of aiming for a third Drivers World Championship in a row, Red Bull’s No 1 driver spoke to CNN Sport at the team’s season launch in New York about the upcoming season, as well as his future plans.
The defending World Champion is gearing-up for pre-season testing in Bahrain, hoping to make it a hat-trick of F1 titles after topping the standings for back-to-back seasons.
Verstappen is tied to a bumper £40m-a-year ($48m) contract at Red Bull, which extends until 2028. By then, he’ll have spent 14 seasons on the F1 circuit since becoming the youngest ever Grand Prix driver back in 2015.
That might be enough for the Dutchman, who has seriously considered stepping away from motorsport’s pinnacle when his deal expires.
On the topic of matching Tom Brady’s urge to play NFL until the age of 45, Verstappen revealed that he may call curtains on his career after his contract ends in 2028.
The 25-year-old told CNN: “You know, Formula 1 has been a big part of my life and we are travelling so much and it’s getting more and more that I think at one point also to basically question yourself, ‘Is it worth it?’
“To spend so much time away from family and friends by chasing more success. I mean, I’ve already achieved everything I wanted to do in Formula One.
“That makes the decision about the future easier, of course. But I also have a contract until 2028, then I’ll be 31 and that’s still quite young, but I want to do many different things in my life.”
That list does not include emulating his boss, Christian Horner, in a team principal role. The British Red Bull chief is the longest-serving team boss in the paddock, having been with the Austrian team since its inception back in 2005.
He continued: “I also like other types of motorsport, such as endurance racing. Formula 1 has taken up a big part of my life for a long time.
“We have to travel a lot and there will be more races in the future. That’s when the question comes up whether the pursuit of even more successes is worth spending so much time away from your own family and friends.”
Another Championship victory this year would make him the fifth driver to win three consecutive F1 titles, after Juan Manuel Fangio, Michael Schumacher, Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton.
Hamilton, who is about to begin his season number 16 as a Formula 1 driver, has shown alongside Fernando Alonso, 41, that age is no obstacle behind the wheel.
The 38-year-old will aim to be back challenging Verstappen in 2022 after going winless last year, as the Brit continues on without showing signs of retiring.
Vettel’s philosophy follows along the same lines of Verstappen’s, with the German retiring at the end of 2022 aged 35.