Max Verstappen to follow Lewis Hamilton and join Ferrari? ‘Never say never’

Oliver Harden
Max Verstappen poses with the visor of his helmet open alongside a prominent Ferrari badge.

After Lewis Hamilton shocked the world by joining Ferrari, could Max Verstappen do the same?

Max Verstappen has insisted that a Lewis Hamilton-style switch to Ferrari is “not even in my head” right now, but teased that you can “never say never” in F1.

Hamilton rocked the F1 world earlier this month by announcing that he will leave Mercedes for Ferrari at the end of the 2024 season, bringing an end to the most successful team-driver partnership in F1 history.

The British driver has won six of his seven World Championships with Mercedes since arriving from McLaren in 2013, becoming the first man to surpass 100 grand prix victories and pole positions the following season.

Max Verstappen to Ferrari? ‘Not even in my head’

Additional reporting by Thomas Maher

Hamilton’s decision to join Ferrari comes after two winless seasons with Mercedes, having gone without a victory since the penultimate round of the 2021 season in Saudi Arabia – seven days before he was dethroned by Verstappen in highly controversial circumstances at the title decider in Abu Dhabi.

Verstappen, meanwhile, has established him as the dominant force of the current era having won 44 of the last 66 races over the last three seasons and easing to a third successive title in 2023 with a record 19 wins.

Although the lure of Ferrari is irresistible to many racing drivers, Verstappen has claimed he has no urge to switch to the Scuderia – insisting he is “comfortable” in his current situation at Red Bull.

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However, the 26-year-old refused to rule out the possibility of following Hamilton to Maranello at some point in the future.

Verstappen was previously linked with a move to Ferrari in the summer of 2019 as part of a dramatic seat swap with Sebastian Vettel, who won four consecutive World Championships with Red Bull between 2010 and 2013, but the deal failed to come to fruition.

Asked if he would consider joining Ferrari, he told media including PlanetF1.com’s Thomas Maher: “I don’t know.

“I don’t want to sound disrespectful or whatever. I have a lot of respect for the brand [of] Ferrari, but I’m very happy where I’m at the moment.

“I’m comfortable in the environment that I’m in here, so for me it’s not something that I’m looking for to change or whatever.

“In my life, also, I know that you always – with what I’ve experienced so far – never say never with things.

“But for me now, no.

“It’s not even in my head but, again, it’s only Formula 1. I want to do more things [outside of] Formula 1 as well.”

Verstappen frequently claimed during his third title-winning season in 2023 that he plans to retire young, with this August marking a full decade since he was announced as an F1 driver for 2015 with Red Bull junior team Scuderia Toro Rosso (now RB).

Speaking to Spanish publication AS last May, however, Verstappen admitted it would be difficult to walk away from F1 if he continued to have access to a competitive car.

Asked if he will still be in F1 at the age of 40, he said: “Yes, but possibly on the yacht. Watching the race.

“I would say not [in the car]. But never say never. I think I’ll be on the boat having a drink.

“I already have many plans that I want to do outside of Formula 1, but we will see. If I have a competitive car it will be very difficult to say goodbye to this sport.”

Verstappen pointed to travelling commitments and other extracurricular activities forced upon the drivers, which he feels interfere with his raw passion for racing, as potential factors that could drive him away from the sport.

He explained: “The time you spend beyond the time you spend in the car. You travel a lot, you have a lot of commitments throughout the year and you know where you have to be at all times, when as a driver what I like is to race.

“It’s what I did when I was little, what I’m passionate about, but you know that in F1 everything around it is part of the sport.

“It is the least positive [aspect]. Ideally, I would just drive. But it is not possible.”

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