Max Verstappen casts further doubt on F1 career: ‘Is it actually a good life?’

Sam Cooper
Max Verstappen speaks after qualifying. Baku April 2023.

Red Bull driver Max Verstappen speaks to reporters after qualifying ends. Azerbaijan April 2023.

Max Verstappen has deconstructed the perception of a Formula 1 driver and questioned if it is all it is cracked up to be.

It is often easy to think any sportsperson has a dream life. Playing a sport around the world in front of adoring fans and for big money, yet for those on the inside, it is clear there are plenty of pitfalls.

One of those at the top of professional sport to be open on the subject is Verstappen with the two-time World Champion frequently stating he has other interests and no desire to stick around in F1 longer than he wants to.

At 25, he has plenty of potential years racing in the sport but it seems increasingly likely that Verstappen will call time on his F1 career earlier than most.

He has previously suggested he may call it quits at the end of his current contract in 2028 and has now questioned whether the life of an F1 driver is worth it.

“I think I always said that even if there won’t be any more sprint races, if we keep expanding the calendar and the whole weekend is that long, at one point you question yourself: is it worth it?” he told reporters in the build-up to the Azerbaijan Grand Prix.

“I do like racing. I do like winning. I know that, of course, there is the salary and everything, and you have a good life. But is it actually a good life? Sometimes, you get to a point in your career where maybe you want to do other stuff.

“I have the contract until the end of 2028 and then we’ll review again, but I do feel that if it’s getting at one point too much, then it’s time for a change.

“You always have to be talking to yourself, looking at yourself – ‘are you still motivated?’ and at the moment that is definitely the case but there will for sure be a point where you want to do other stuff as well.

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“Sometimes, this sounds very weird for people on the outside… ‘you’re in Formula 1, you are winning’ – I would have probably said the same when I was in their position but when you are in it, it is not always how it looks or what people think.

“Yes, it is great, it is amazing and you can do a lot of things but there is always a limit to certain things.”

Verstappen is known to have plenty of racing interests outside Formula 1 and frequently spends his free time sim racing. The Dutchman also said he would like to have a Fernando Alonso-style sabbatical from F1 to try other series but it would take something special to bring him back to his current role.

“I’m not interested in winning seven or eight titles,” he said. “If you have the car to do it great, but I am already happy so it’s OK.

“I want to do other things, other competitions. A bit like Fernando did. But it also needs to be worth it to come back [to F1].

“Some people just love racing and that’s the only thing they know and the only thing they want to do. I am probably a bit more in the middle. I mean, I do love racing. But I also want to do other kinds of racing. And then you can’t combine the two or set up other kinds of stuff.”