‘Mega Max salary justified, he’s changed the sport’

Mark Scott
Christian Horner and Max Verstappen after the Abu Dhabi GP. Yas Marina December 2021.

Christian Horner and Max Verstappen on the podium after the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. Yas Marina December 2021.

Ex-Formula 1 driver, Robert Doornbos, believes Max Verstappen has fully justified the big wage rise he has received as part of his new Red Bull deal.

The reigning World Champion declared that that he wanted to stay at Red Bull for the rest of his life following his title success on the last lap at the 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

And this week he has gone some way to making that bold statement become a reality after putting pen to paper on a whopping six-year contract extension.

But it is not the length of the contract which has got the motorsport world talking, it is the fee being paid to Verstappen on an annual basis.

A reported £40million-a-year salary puts him close, if not even on a par with, title rival Lewis Hamilton as the highest-paid driver on the Formula 1 grid.

And Doornbos feels Verstappen is worth every penny.

“He has changed the sport,” was Doornbos’ opening remark in conversation with Dutch publication AD, as quoted by GPFans NL.

“With his driving style, his feedback, his positioning and of course his result of last year.

“It’s a world sport, and thanks to him more people than ever watched it last year.

“Formula 1 has really grown and Max has played a big part in that. This salary suits that.”

Verstappen, who has also been labelled as one of the “all-time best drivers” in Formula 1 history according to David Coulthard, has by some distance the longest contract duration on the grid.

With his deal running until at least the end of 2028, the next longest contract belongs to Lando Norris, which expires at the end of 2025.

Charles Leclerc (Ferrari), Valtteri Bottas (Alfa Romeo) and Esteban Ocon (Alpine) all have respective deals that run to the end of 2024, Daniel Ricciardo (McLaren), Pierre Gasly (AlphaTauri) and Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) are currently contracted until 2023.

The length of George Russell’s contract is unknown, but it is a long-term deal.

Verstappen signs mega contract extension

Max Verstappen has signed a contract extension until the end of 2028.