New scenario could force Max Verstappen into F1 retirement rethink
Max Verstappen has admitted it would be “very difficult” to walk away from Formula 1 if he continued to find himself in a competitive car, despite previously insisting he has no intention of sticking around for the long haul.
Verstappen became the youngest-ever driver to start an F1 race aged 17 in 2015 and, the following year, broke the record for the youngest race winner on debut for Red Bull in Barcelona.
Having overcome Lewis Hamilton to win his maiden World Championship in 2021, the Dutchman shattered the record for the most wins by a driver in a single season (15) in the process of claiming his second title in 2022.
Currently leading Red Bull team-mate Sergio Perez by 14 points ahead of this weekend’s Monaco Grand Prix, Verstappen – winner of 28 of the last 49 races stretching back to the start of his first title-winning campaign – is the strong favourite to make it three in a row in 2023.
Despite his mighty position at the summit of the sport, Verstappen has repeatedly claimed his will not be a long F1 career in the style of Hamilton and fellow two-time World Champion Fernando Alonso, with ambitions of switching to endurance racing in the future.
However, in an interview with Spanish publication AS, the 25-year-old has admitted it would be hard to turn his back on F1 if his level of success remains high.
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Asked if he will still be in F1 at the age of 40, Verstappen replied: “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.”
Asked to elaborate on the factors that could potentially drive him away Verstappen pointed to travelling commitments and other extracurricular activities forced upon the drivers, which he feels interfere with his raw passion for racing.
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.”
Pressed on what his post-F1 career might entail, Verstappen said: “I want to do other things. Endurance. IndyCar, not so much. But I would like to try to win other things.
“Rally or Dakar? My father [former F1 driver Jos] does rallies right now, but in my case I would do it on a closed circuit, in the style of rallycross. That seems safer.
“When I see the accidents between trees it seems very risky and something more dangerous than Formula 1.
“I will not consider it for now.”
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