Max Verstappen will be wearing Red Bull colours for the foreseeable after signing a huge five-year contract extension that will keep him at the four-time constructors’ champions until at least the end of 2028. But with two years remaining on the Dutchman’s current deal, why extend now?
Verstappen struck while the iron was hot
The Verstappen family are shrewd operators, and after giving Red Bull their first world title since 2013, they were in a strong position to negotiate a long-term arrangement on considerably better terms.
Red Bull have made no secret of their support for Verstappen, effectively moulding the team around him, as they feel that’s the best way to not just secure world titles but deliver a sustained period of success.\
Verstappen delivered last year with a title win – and he will know his newfound worth. He’s hot property right now. With Lewis Hamilton coming towards the end of his career, a berth at Mercedes at some point was feasible. Ferrari and McLaren could be options, too.
Any team on the grid would happily recruit Verstappen – and when you’re in that kind of demand, you can afford to squeeze a team who you know need and want you.
So despite still having two years left, Verstappen brought Red Bull to the table, and the result is a new five-year deal – which sources say is on much improved terms and was agreed in principle in Barcelona last week.
The deal is the longest of any driver on the grid, and it makes a lot of sense for the 24-year-old. Verstappen feels at home at Red Bull. It’s where he feels he belongs. He loves the team and those he works with – and he’s got an incredible relationship with senior management.
“The decision was quite straightforward, both sides wanted to continue,” said Verstappen. “From the start, I’ve felt really good in the team, especially last year. I only saw one way forward and that was with this team.”
Staying put, especially when the team have shown they can deliver a world championship-winning car and while they’re building their own power unit division with an eye on long-term success, was a no-brainer.
“I just feel really good at the team and I really enjoy working with the people in every department, especially of course after winning the championship last year,” he added. “For me, it’s the best team out there so I want to stay.”