If Max Verstappen is in Formula One long enough to challenge the record for most career world championships, it will be because he is still motivated by the competition.
The two-time reigning world champion isn’t threatening to walk away from F1 when his Red Bull contract expires after the 2028 season. However, the Dutchman won’t sign a new contract to equal or break the record of seven world championships shared by Lewis Hamilton and Michael Schumacher.
“I’m not interested in seven or eight titles,” he said Thursday ahead of the Azerbaijan Grand Prix. “If you have the car to do so, then brilliant, but even if it doesn’t, I’m happy. I’m already happy.”
Verstappen, 25, leads the driver standings entering Baku and is well-positioned to capture his third world championship this year. He still loves the competition in F1 but added that it’s a hectic lifestyle and that he may want to pursue other challenges in motorsports at some point.
“I think sometimes you get to a point in your career where you want to do other stuff,” he said. “I am contracted to the end of ‘28, and then we will review again.”
Verstappen has been an outspoken critic of F1 adding to the sprint race schedule. While he understands the business side, he believes it isn’t “in the DNA of Formula One” and takes a bit of the “shine” away from Sunday’s main race while further adding to the driver’s workload.
What the F1 schedule looks like come 2028 could factor heavily on Verstappen’s plans. The calendar includes 23 events this year -- including six standalone sprint races -- and could expand to 24 in 2024.
“Yeah, I do feel that if it’s getting at one point too much, it’s time for a change,” he said. “You always have to be talking to yourself, looking to yourself, ‘Are you still motivated, fully motivated, and do you love what you do?’
“At the moment, that is definitely the case. I do like racing, I like winning, I know the salary ... you have a good life. But is it actually a good life? Sometimes, you get to the point of your career where you want to do other stuff.
“Sometimes, it sounds very weird for people from the outside, because they’re saying ‘ah, you’re in Formula One, you’re winning,’ and probably I would have said the same when I was in their position.
“But once you’re in it, it’s not always how it looks like or how people think your life is. Yes, it’s great, it’s amazing, you can do a lot of things. Very independent. But there is always a limit to certain things.”
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