Revealed: The exact moment you will know Max Verstappen ‘is getting ready to retire’

Henry Valantine
Max Verstappen speaks to an engineer in Australia.

Max Verstappen retired from his first race in two seasons in Australia on Sunday.

Martin Brundle believes the moment Max Verstappen loses his “fiery passion”, even in retiring from a race, that is the moment he is likely to be thinking about leaving Formula 1.

Verstappen was seen in terse discussion with Red Bull staff members after retiring early from the Australian Grand Prix on Sunday – his first non-finish in 43 races – showing how much he clearly wanted to match his remarkable run of 10 wins in a row he set last season.

Max Verstappen retirement moment? When ‘fiery passion’ ebbs away

Verstappen calmed down soon afterwards while speaking to media after his retirement, but his passion in the heat of the moment after leading yet another race was a sign that his love of Formula 1 remains undimmed.

While he has been open in admitting that he is unsure if he will continue in the sport beyond the end of his current contract with Red Bull in 2028, with other interests such as GT and endurance racing that he wants to tick off in his career, Brundle explained that he believes Verstappen will only think about walking away from the Formula 1 paddock when that “fiery passion” begins to dissipate.

“I feel guilty for thinking it, but it was a relief to see a different winning team and driver in Melbourne,” Brundle wrote in his post-Australia column for Sky Sports.

“Nothing against Red Bull or its drivers, they’ve been immense, but the chorus of ‘F1 needed that’ echoed through the paddock post-race.

“Max Verstappen delivered a ‘Max-like’ lap to secure pole position, but Red Bull had to add some front wing set-up for the race, one of the few permissible changes in parc fermé lock down, in order to protect the front tyres from sliding too much.

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“It was all inconsequential because his rear-brake caliper stuck on the grid, akin to leaving the handbrake on, and would quickly and spectacularly overheat that corner meaning he would experience his first non-finish for 43 races.

“The big question is whether Ferrari would have beaten Red Bull anyway.

“McLaren kept Ferrari remarkably honest with their race pace suggesting Verstappen would have been right in there. We’ll never know the answer to the question of course, but my gut feeling all the way through was that it was Ferrari’s day.

“Despite his incredible run of successes Verstappen was initially very angry that his car had failed.

“When the adrenaline washes away he has become good at a managing these moods now, but if he ever loses that fiery passion in the heat of the moment you’ll know he is getting ready to retire.”

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