Max Verstappen may walk away from F1 when his current contract expires as he wants to take part in other racing series while still competitive.
Despite only being 25 years of age, Verstappen already feels like a veteran of the sport. He has participated in 163 grands prix, the sixth-most of the 2023 F1 drivers, and began at the age of 17 years and 166 days, making him the yongest driver in F1 history.
It should come as no surprise then that he may hang up his F1 racing gloves earlier than the standard driver. His current Red Bull contract, which he signed in March, runs until 2028 and the Dutchman will be 31 by the time of its conclusion.
While the likes of Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton have gone on to race well into their 30s, that may not be a path Verstappen chooses to go down.
Alonso, who has participated in seven different series, said he hoped to one day take part in the 24 Hours of Le Mans with Verstappen as his team-mate which prompted the Red Bull man to suggest his future may lay elsewhere.
“If Fernando goes there, he will want to fight for victory in a competitive car, and I am exactly the same,” Verstappen said, as reported by Ouest-France.
“Formula 1 is a lot of fun, I’m very successful there at the moment. But I would like to try something else.
“My contract with Red Bull runs until 2028, when I will be 31. I will probably be competitive for a few years after that. But during these years, I want to live other experiences, have a little more fun with less pressure and also with a less tight schedule.”
It is not the first time Verstappen has suggested he could walk away once his current contract ends and in October, he told Channel 4 that the ever-expanding season may prove to be too much.
“It’s not about the number of championships or whatever,” he replied when asked if he had a target for his career in mind. “It’s also a quality of life.
“We are going to more races. I have a contract until 2028, I’ll be 31, so I do think about if we are heading into this direction with more and more races, do I really want to continue this until I’m like 35? Probably not.”
Verstappen’s experience outside of F1 has largely been restricted to virtual races with his team Redline but his father Jos competed in other events such as Le Mans.
Verstappen Jnr said he was in no rush to make a decision on his future and said he would see how things evolve before deciding.
“That’s why I don’t want to rush [into a decision] either, simply because a lot of things are changing now in endurance racing. In my opinion, it’s better to wait and see exactly what happens and how it will evolve, and then make a choice.”