Max Verstappen says he has every faith Red Bull can avoid the circumstances which would have him scrambling for the door of an early exit from F1.
While Verstappen is just 25 years old, the Dutch driver has long made it clear that he only intends on being in the sport for a good time, rather than a long time.
With a keen interest in sportscar and endurance racing, there have been suggestions that, should Red Bull find themselves slipping away from the front of F1, Verstappen may take the opportunity to cut and run to expand his horizons in other categories.
Max Verstappen: Things would have to be dramatically bad
While the regulations are set for stability all the way through to 2026, the biggest potential stumbling block for the teams is the complete rules refresh from 2026 onwards.
With a new engine formula coming, the cars are also set for extensive chassis and aero rules rewrites, and there is simply no guarantee of any team getting them right.
With the Dutch driver on a long-term deal with Red Bull until 2028, the circumstances of fumbling the bag could lead Verstappen to consider walking away, he has admitted.
“Things would have to get really bad and dramatic, I think,” he told Dutch publication De Telegraaf.
But the soon-to-be three-time World Champion doubts things will get bad enough to the point he’d consider leaving the sport, but admitted he has no interest in plodding around in the midfield.
“I also don’t expect that a team can drop back that far, with all those good people walking around with us,” he continued.
“In this sport, it can always be the case that you are not in a good position as a team for a while. Then it’s about what the prospects are and what the outlook is.
“But yes, I don’t see myself touring midfield for three years. Then I’d rather stay at home or do something else. But again: I don’t see that happening.”
Max Verstappen: I care about F1
Verstappen’s exceptionally long contract with Red Bull means that he could end up racing his entire, hugely successful, career with just one employer as Red Bull gave him his break with Toro Rosso in 2015 before promoting him to the senior team in early 2016.
The Dutch driver admitted that he had thought about life elsewhere when Red Bull were unable to provide him with a car strong enough for title bids, but said he’s glad things managed to always work themselves out.
“Not that,” he said when asked if he’s thought about quitting for another team.
“But I did think: will it still work here? But in the end, we always came back together. Over the years, quite a lot has also happened within the team.
“Just look at the switch of engine supplier, from Renault to Honda, and the way the team is now working on its own engine. There was always something to look forward to. That was then the deciding factor to extend my contract.”
While Verstappen has been critical of some of the changes F1 has made in a bid to improve the spectacle, such as sprint races and a separate sprint shootout, Verstappen said he only complains about such things due to his love of the sport.
“Because I care about the sport that I always really enjoyed,” he said.
“And still like it, but to a certain extent. It is also not that I am completely against changes, as is sometimes claimed. But they have to be changes that benefit Formula 1.
“Why do you need to change certain things if things are running well? I think a traditional qualifying session is set up just fine in that form. It shouldn’t be all about money.
“People might think: he makes a lot of money, what is this guy whining about? But it’s about well-being, how you experience things and not how much you earn. I sometimes think I have to do too many things. Then I sometimes think: is this still worth it?”