Verstappen's fresh retirement warning at Red Bull amid record-breaking success

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Max Verstappen continues to cast doubt over his F1 future (Image: Marco Canoniero/REX/Shutterstock)
Max Verstappen continues to cast doubt over his F1 future (Image: Marco Canoniero/REX/Shutterstock)

Max Verstappen concedes if Red Bull aren't competitive then "the fire starts to go away" amid continued talk of his retirement date.

The Dutchman is set to win a third consecutive world championship - a feat only achieved by three other drivers. His Red Bull remains the class of the field as Verstappen continues to win races with ease in what has been his most dominant season to date.

Despite that, having now been in the sport for almost a decade, Verstappen has openly talked about calling time on his Formula 1 career when his contract, which runs until 2028, expires. But winning keeps him occupied and he fears walking away would become more appealing if he wasn't competitive.

Asked by Sky if he needs more of a challenge to keep that racing fire going, Verstappen replied: “This keeps the fire going. If I have to rock up and I have no chance of winning then the fire starts to go away.” He then said he "didn't know" if he was here for the long haul, adding: “It depends what we keep doing every single year. But this year, it’s looking great, but next year is again a completely different year.”

Verstappen's rivalry with Lewis Hamilton, especially during their 2021 title fight, saw the sport's audiences peak as new fans were attracted. Since then, the Dutchman has been relatively unchallenged with his team-mate, Sergio Perez, unable to take the fight to the 25-year-old.

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The Red Bull star has aired concerns over the ever-growing calendar which sees F1 head to all corners of the earth as they cash in on their popularity. The huge travel demands, coupled with the introduction of sprint races, has seen him question whether he'll remain beyond his current contract.

Verstappen's fresh retirement warning at Red Bull amid record-breaking successWinning keeps the Dutchman motivated (HOCH ZWEI/picture-alliance/dpa/AP Images)

“It is too many (races) for me but we just have to deal with it," he claimed. "I think it (the calendar) is a bit more logical the way that it is planned at least, I guess that is better for everyone. But more things will have to come together for me to make my mind up over whether I stay longer (than 2028) or not. But I think that these things are definitely not helping for sure.”

Verstappen, who earns more than £40m with the Austrian outfit, has also cast doubt over whether his lavish life is exactly that given the demands it places upon a driver, citing a desire to pursue other things.

He said earlier this season: “I do like racing, I do like winning. I know that the salary and everything, you have a good life, but is it actually a good life? I think sometimes you get to a point in your career where maybe you want to do other stuff. I know that I have a contract until the end of ’28 and then we’ll review again. But I do feel that if it’s getting at one point too much, then it’s time for a change."

Samuel Meade

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