As we reported yesterday, Max Verstappen has signed a contract to stay with Red Bull until the end of the 2028 F1 season after a successful 2021 where the Belgian-Dutch grabbed his first world championship. This is the longest contract currently on the grid with even Lewis Hamilton’s contract with Mercedes-AMG running out by the end of 2023.
Following the controversial win at the Abu Dhabi GP last year, Verstappen admitted that there is no reason for him to move away from Red Bull, and that he has no plans to move at all from the team.
He told the press how he was feeling behind this new contract:
“Choosing to stay to the 2028 season was an easy decision.
“I love this team and last year was simply incredible.
“Our goal since we came together in 2016 was to win the championship and we have done that, so now it’s about keeping the number one on the car long-term.”
This is the longest contract of any F1 driver and will see Max staying with Red Bull from the age of 18 to his 30s. Lando Norris has a contract with McLaren which will keep him with the team until 25, but that barely comes close to this new deal with Red Bull. Even Valtteri Bottas, who joined the Alfa Romeo team this year, has his contract running out by the end of 2024.
Now, Verstappen has revealed why he wanted a contract of such length, admitting that it means there will be few external distractions:
“[It] is important as well to have a good time and have fun, and actually enjoy your time in Formula 1.
“I just feel really good at this team,” he said. “And I really enjoy working with the people in every department.
“For me, it’s the best team out there.”
Christian Horner, team principal of Red Bull, said that this is a “real statement of intent” from both sides of the contract that shows “commitment and a real belief”. It’s also interesting to note that this will take Max over the powertrain change as Red Bull plans to use its own engine by 2026.
“Our immediate focus is on retaining Max’s world championship title, but this deal also shows he is a part of the team’s long-term planning,” Horner says.
“With the Red Bull Powertrains division working towards the new engine regulations for 2026 we wanted to make sure we had the best driver on the grid secured for that car.”
Verstappen will be paid a reported €50m a season, an amount that matches 7-time world champion Lewis Hamilton and puts him in the list of some of the highest paid athletes in the world. But if things don’t go so well for the driver, there are a number of clauses that will allow Verstappen and Red Bull to split if targets aren’t met.
Horner has previously said the following:
“All drivers have safeguards within performance, and the reality is that as there has always been.