Max Verstappen To Walk Away From F1
Reigning Formula 1 world champion Max Verstappen revealed he could walk away and retire from the sport at the end of his current deal, which he signed on the eve of the 2022 season. The Dutchman assumed the lead at the top of the Formula 1 Drivers’ Standings for the first time during the 2022 season after he took the chequered flag at the Spanish Grand Prix.
The reigning World Champion is on a long-term contract with Red Bull, which sees the 24-year-old on a reported $48.9 million-a-year deal until 2028. The Red Bull driver has previously made it clear he wants to stay with the team for the duration of his F1 career, and the Dutchman’s current contract will take him up to his 31st birthday. When asked about his plans for the future, the World Champion says he is unsure about his next move post-F1.
The Red Bull driver currently leads Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc by six points, after a string of three consecutive victories which brought the Dutchman right back into championship contention. Verstappen claimed his maiden title in 2021 at the controversial Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, the last of the season. The Red Bull driver’s rival was Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton that year and Verstappen has admitted that both drivers have since moved on from the controversies of the 2021 season.
Upon securing his maiden championship, Verstappen inked a five-year contract worth $48.9 million annually to keep him at Red Bull until 2028, which will be just after his 31st birthday. While sitting on his team’s floating pontoon in a Monte-Carlo harbor, Verstappen pondered his long-term future, and retirement, for the first time.
Verstappen entered the F1 arena at such a young age that he raced in the sport before he was legally licensed to drive on the roads of Belgium, where he lived at the time. He now lives in Monaco, along with last year’s bitter championship rival Lewis Hamilton. At the 2015 Australian Grand Prix, when he was aged 17 years, 166 days, the Dutchman became the youngest driver to compete in Formula One. After spending the 2015 season with Scuderia Toro Rosso, Verstappen started his 2016 campaign with the Italian team before being promoted to parent team Red Bull Racing after four races as a replacement for outgoing Red Bull F1 driver Daniil Kvyat.
At the age of 18, he won the 2016 Spanish Grand Prix on his debut for Red Bull Racing, becoming the youngest-ever driver and the first Dutch driver to win a Formula One Grand Prix. After winning the 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Verstappen became the first Dutch driver to win the Formula One World Championship and the 34th Formula One World Drivers’ Champion. As of the 2022 Azerbaijan Grand Prix, Verstappen has achieved 24 victories and 14 pole positions. Son of former F1 driver Jos Verstappen, the reigning F1 World Champion is due to remain at Red Bull until at least the end of the 2028 season after signing a contract extension in late 2021.
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