Details of new Max Versappen contract, value, Red Bull contract until 2028

Max Verstappen has enjoyed a well-deserved break as new world champion in the offseason, but there has clearly been no rest for his lawyers.

Before a wheel was turned in anger in 2022, Red Bull Racing and its new world champion announced they were extending their tenure until 2028.

Reports from the Netherlands put the deal’s value at around A$75m a year – Lewis Hamilton-level money for a driver nearly 13 years the Briton’s junior.

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Verstappen signaled from the recovery lap of last year’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix that he wanted to “do this for another 10 or 15 years together” with the team, and just two months later the pen was put on paper to hold the Dutchman at Milton Keynes until his 31st birthday.

“Choosing to stay until the 2028 season was an easy decision,” Verstappen said. “I love this team, and last year was just amazing.

“Our goal since we got together in 2016 was to win the championship, and we did that, so now it’s about keeping number one on the car for the long term.”

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RED BULL RACING GUARANTEES ITS FUTURE

The effective seven-year contract makes Verstappen the most committed driver on the grid, even at a time when title-aspiring teams are locking up young drivers with unusually long contracts.

Ferrari is keeping Charles Leclerc until the end of 2024 – Italian media reported the Monegasque was close to agreeing to stay until 2026, still well short of Verstappen’s deal – while McLaren are keeping Lando Norris out of the market until the end of 2025.

There is no doubt that Red Bull Racing has Verstappen at the center of its long-term ambitions, including well ahead of the new era of rules set to begin in 2026.

And it is the post-2026 component that is crucial for this agreement.

Red Bull Racing is trying to lure Volkswagen into the sport, likely through its Porsche brand, as part of an engine works deal that begins in 2026.

Part of the groundwork is the creation of Red Bull Powertrains, which was set up to service and operate Honda-built engines by then. The knowledge gained there would help Porsche avoid the starting problems associated with designing an engine from scratch.

Verstappen is a second carrot to seal the deal. Not only does this guarantee Porsche will power a world champion, but the Dutchman is sure to have racked up many more wins and potentially world titles before 2026, making him an attractive marketing prospect.

“Max’s signing with Oracle Red Bull Racing until the end of 2028 is a true statement of intent,” said team principal Christian Horner. “Our immediate goal is to retain Max’s world championship title, but this deal also shows that he is part of the team’s long-term planning.

“With the Red Bull Powertrains division working on the new engine regulations for 2026, we wanted to make sure we had the best driver on the grid for this car.

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FOR VERSTAPPEN IT’S GOOD BUSINESS SENSE

Verstappen’s stock has never been higher than as a freshly minted world champion who, at just 24, may not even have reached his peak yet.

It makes sense for him and his management to strike while the iron is hot, and with Dutch media reporting the deal is worth $75m, there’s no doubt he missed the chance to cash in. of its success.

But more than the money, it’s the length of tenure Verstappen was able to secure, which will shield him from the potential of a driver’s salary cap during the most productive years of his career.

Following the successful introduction of a team spending cap to level the playing field, Formula 1 set up a task force early last year to consider limiting driver salaries, which risk to skyrocket as teams become more profitable through limiting other expenses.

Although the details have not yet been agreed, last year the figure of around $40 million for a team’s drivers – full-time and for reserves – circulated in the paddock, which would represent a significant reduction for F1’s biggest earners.

Any agreed cap would be extremely unlikely to reach contracts already agreed – imagine the international legal wrangling that would be involved – meaning Verstappen’s revenue is shielded from any mandatory cost cuts.

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IS VERSTAPPEN A RED BULL DRIVER FOR LIFE?

While at 31, Verstappen will by no means be of retirement age at the end of this contract, he will have raced for 14 seasons and will likely be a veteran of over 300 races by then. With future contracts likely to be defined by how close he is to hanging up the helmet, the prospect of being with Red Bull Racing for life is very real.

Although the Dutchman has never expressed a desire to race for a more iconic Formula 1 team – even Lewis Hamilton has spoken of the prestige of racing for Ferrari, although he has never sought to change – one thing that escaping him with a lifetime contract is the opportunity to win races and titles with multiple manufacturers, seen by some as a true indicator of greatness.

But it’s debatable whether that will rank high for the Dutchman, who insists he had no other aim than to win his first championship.

“My life will not change now,” he said in Abu Dhabi last season. “I’m of course very happy to have won the championship, that final achievement that I wanted in Formula 1, so everything else that comes now is a bonus.”

Instead – much like Charles Leclerc and Lando Norris, with whom he is likely to experience battles throughout his career – being comfortable in his surroundings and with his team may be more important, allowing him to shoot constantly get the most out of himself and reach new heights rather than risk upsetting his balance in a shift change.

In this regard, Daniel Ricciardo’s comments on the extension of the contract of his teammate Norris were enlightening.

“It’s where he wants to be,” he said. “It is also the most important. You need to be in an environment where you are happy.

“I think both parties are now cementing that long-term commitment, it’s a really strong thing, especially for a young driver. So, yes, I think it’s a good decision.

There is no doubt that Verstappen and Red Bull Racing make a powerful combination, and locking themselves into a long-term relationship means that together they can establish themselves as a generational force in Formula 1.

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