Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Shanghai International Circuit, 2024

Will Verstappen race on with Red Bull until the end of 2028?

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It’s fair to say that over the opening months of the 2024 Formula 1 season, the shocks and stunning announcements in the driver market have provided more intense drama than the on-track action – at least at the very front of the field.

While Max Verstappen continues to hold the sport in a stranglehold, with four victories from the opening five rounds of the season, the headlines have been dominated by some major driver moves over the years to come.

It all began in February, when Mercedes confirmed that seven-times world champion Lewis Hamilton would be leaving their team after 12 seasons with them to join Ferrari in what may well be the third and final team move of his historic career. With Hamilton in at Ferrari, Carlos Sainz Jnr became a free agent and has been the subject of many hundreds of thinkpieces debating which team will and should earn his talents for 2025 and beyond. Fernando Alonso signed a contract extension with Aston Martin, while Nico Hulkenberg was announced just days ago as the first driver of Audi’s factory F1 team entering the sport in 2026.

But despite being the reigning three-time world champion with Red Bull, under contract with his team until the end of the 2028 season, even Verstappen himself has seen intense speculation over his future in the sport. Given his standing, Verstappen could command virtually any seat on the grid if he wanted – but would he consider leaving the team he has often referred to as “a family”?


The idea of Verstappen considering giving up everything that he has with his current team when he is enjoying the most dominant run the sport has ever seen seems ludicrous.

Verstappen is driven to win. Not to fight for podiums or points or try and drag a lowly team up the order to the front. He claims he does not find his dominant style of winning any less satisfying for how simple his victories appear to be and his team keep producing cars that are on a whole other level of performance to their rivals. Why would he voluntarily give that up?

Not to forget, Verstappen’s giant of a contract would have come with an extremely generous salary which will require significant compensation to Red Bull should he choose to escape from it now. Even if he wants to go elsewhere, it may prove far, far easier said than done to make it happen.


Although it may seem hard to picture Verstappen ever thinking of leaving the Red Bull empire that he has rebuilt into the dominant force in Formula 1, there are a few reasons why it’s a possibility.

Verstappen has spoken of how he values stability. When rumours swirled about the potential departure of team advisor Helmut Marko from the team, Verstappen said it was “very important that we keep the key people together” within Red Bull. Yet Red Bull has been engulfed in turmoil off-track throughout the early season with reports designer Adrian Newey will leave the team.

Verstappen has also been very open about the fact that he has racing ambitions beyond Formula 1 – particularly endurance racing and the Le Mans 24 Hours. While he is committed to F1, he is not wedded to it and could well decide that he wants to pursue other racing avenues even at the young age of 26.

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I say

If there is anything for sure in Formula 1, it is that nothing is ever out of the realm of possibility.

Imagine just a handful of years ago saying that Lewis Hamilton would go two full seasons without a victory, then depart Mercedes for Ferrari. Or that Nico Hulkenberg would return to the grid and earn one of Audi’s two race seats for 2026. Or that Andretti would be fighting to join the grid as an 11th team that same year.

Helmut Marko, Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Jeddah Corniche Circuit, 2024
Marko is “important” to Verstappen remainin at Red Bull
Although Verstappen may have signed what was likely the biggest and most lucrative contract in F1’s history back in 2022, it’s also possible that he will decide to escape from that commitment. With Red Bull engulfed by internal power struggles, controversies and the potential departure of its most important technical asset, this is not the team it was 12 months ago, no matter how successful they have been.

It is extremely hard to see Red Bull losing their place at the top of the sport any time soon – particularly before the arrival of the new power unit formula in 2026. However, the same could also have been said for Mercedes just a handful of years ago. And three years into the ground effect era, Mercedes are still mediocre by their own standards.

And no matter what a contract may say, there are always options for either party to escape in Formula 1 if desired. Just look at McLaren getting out of their contract with Daniel Ricciardo or Hamilton signing for Ferrari just months after supposedly committing to Mercedes for another two seasons.

But even if there are major changes in the leadership structure of Red Bull over the year to come, that surely would not be enough for Verstappen to consider giving up everything he has in the team that has given him three – almost certainly four – world championship winning cars in consecutive years. There would need to be another team that would be able to offer more than what he has now or will have in the future. And it’s very difficult to see who could.

So yes, it feels more likely than not that Verstappen will race on with Red Bull until at least the end of 2028. But it’s absolutely not a sure thing anymore.

You say

Will Verstappen remain loyal to Red Bull and see out his contract with them? Have your say in this weekend’s poll below.

Will Max Verstappen see out his Red Bull contract until it expires at the end of 2028?

  • No opinion (3%)
  • No - Verstappen will stop racing in Formula 1 before his Red Bull contract ends (7%)
  • No - Verstappen will move to another team before his Red Bull contract ends (58%)
  • Yes - Verstappen will extend his Red Bull contract beyond 2028 (3%)
  • Yes - Verstappen will drive for Red Bull until the end of 2028 (29%)

Total Voters: 121

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Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...

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61 comments on “Will Verstappen race on with Red Bull until the end of 2028?”

  1. It is rumoured ( as all contract things always are) that there are several escape options for Verstappen to leave RBR without breaking his contract.
    One of those things was related to the composition of the team-top. Apart from Marko also Newey is an ingredient here.
    It seems the bond between newey and max is maybe as tight as the bond with Marko. So leaving RBR opens the possibility to leave RBR next year and explore new directions.
    Some thinking…and speculating
    How strong is the Hamilton contract with ferrari? Is it possible Ferrari takes Newey and Verstappen and drops Lewis?
    How important is the development of the Mercedes engine. Will 2025 be an off year to shine again in 2026 with a powerfull engine?
    How strong is the bond between Max and Honda and is Aston Martin a option, putting Alonso in the roll of teammanager.
    madness? Possible…. but F1 is madness lately ;)

    1. Grab Newey.
      Drop LeClerc and give Max his seat.
      There may well be outbreaks of physical violence in the debriefings and elsewhere, but that’s my brand of Ferrari madness :)

      1. Well, that would be pretty funny, of course! Probably entertaining. I don’t think Lewis should be in the same team as Max and vice-versa. They’re too big to share a team. Alonso, too. When you’ve got three drivers like this on the grid and they all have cars good enough for wins, the one with the compliant team mate will have the best chance of winning the championship. I will speculate that Lewis will beat Leclerc. It’s still not an ideal situation when Max only has to compete with Checo and I have a feeling there’s an agreement in Aston that Alonso is the clear number one. If Lance ever got ahead of him and the points were important to Alonso, I think he would move over.

        Still, this would be the opposite situation that Newey had a few times, especially with Hill and Villeneuve, where his drivers were so unworthy of the machinery that they competed to try and lose championships to an extraordinary man in a poor car.

        1. Hill was not unworthy. He was treated very badly by Williams in his championship winning season.
          Williams had a bad habit of doing that previously as well: look at how they treated Mansell and Prost

          1. I mean what I said. You don’t have to agree, of course. Hill was talented enough, but he didn’t do himself any favours in 1994 and 1995. Schumacher should not have gotten close in 1997, but I have a feeling you agree on this, at least!

          2. + 1. I have no love for Frank Williams or the team. They were a good team but he treated his drivers awfully. Especially after they had won championships for him. There was something of the night about him. Untrustworthy I would say.

        2. Still, this would be the opposite situation that Newey had a few times, especially with Hill and Villeneuve, where his drivers were so unworthy of the machinery that they competed to try and lose championships to an extraordinary man in a poor car.

          Pretty sure both Hill and Villeneuve won the championship in the 2 years where they had the best car.

          1. But they weren’t top drivers, the 1996 williams was dominant and the 1997 williams was close to that too.

            A top driver wouldn’t be destroyed by schumacher in a similar car like hill did in 1994 and 1995 (1995 you can see it in the stats and 1994 just need to know the fight went to the wire after schumacher was excluded from 4 races, the 25% of the season; in the eventuality that didn’t happen it’d be another 1995).

          2. I think both hill and villeneuve had something more than the typical number 2 like barrichello, irvine, coulthard or perez, but they were also a tier below the really strong drivers like, in recent times, schumacher, alonso, hamilton or verstappen.

          3. Nikos (@exeviolthor)
            29th April 2024, 8:27

            People forget that Hill started competing in F1 in his 30s. Comparing him to drivers that had so much support in their careers is unfair.
            Villeneuve won the championship in his second year in the sport being only one of the very few people that have successfully moved from the US stage to F1.
            In my opinion they were very good drivers and worthy World Champions.

        3. It’s absolutely crazy to think a Newey clause is because of how tight his bond is with Adrian rather than because of what a massive piece of the team’s performance Adrian is. What a weird, weird way to look at it, especially since we don’t know if that clause even exists and we have seen nothing that indicates the two are personally close.

          BTW, I agree Hill was one of the least deserving WDCs.

  2. If I was advising Max I would suggest quitting F1 altogether for a while using the Red Bull/Horner debacle as the main excuse.

    He could get a top seat in almost any other Motorsport series he chooses, and I personally believe that he could easily add another World Champion title to his name.
    Then – in three or four, perhaps five, years he could come back to F1 as he would still be young enough for any of the top teams to welcome him with open arms.
    (Plus, that would be a PR and advertisers dream come true. BIG money to made in that scenario)

    What he will probably do though is stay where he is until Red Bull collapses around him and he is forced to look to another team. So I have voted he wont see his contract out ….. shame …. he could be a Motorsport’s legend if he took a chance.

    1. It would be great if he won what he could with Red Bull before moving into other series. I don’t think Max can be a legend like Schumacher unless he does something that F1 doesn’t allow a driver to do any more. He loves racing. Can he win in two other series after spending so much of his life preparing for and racing in F1?

  3. Redbull without an engine manufacturer and Newey leaving, runaway. Aston Martin, Audi maybe Mercedes are better options.

  4. It all depends on whether Redbull is competitive in the 2026 regulations or not. If either the Ford collaboration power unit or the chassis is uncompetitive, then I think Verstappen will be looking for an exit for 2027-2028. This is especially true after seeing what happened to Mercedes after their run of dominance ended. It is not a quick process to turn a team around, and Max will not want to sit around for 3-4 years or more waiting for them to rise back to the top.

    Really I think this is too early to answer such a poll, as we are still awaiting confirmation and details of what will happen with the power struggle at Redbull and whether Newey will leave, retire, or sign with another team. On balance of probabilities, I voted Max to move to another team before seeing out his contract, but this expectation could change very quickly depending on how the politics play out.

    1. Yes, agree it’s too soon, hence I voted no opinion, because I really can’t tell, on the basis of competitiveness atm and how hard it is to get a car able to win titles, then ofc he should stay, but if newey indeed leaves (and judging by how many sites say that it looks like a given) and the engine is uncompetitive (we still have to see that, I believe red bull is a very strong team and wouldn’t be surprised if they made a good engine) it could make sense to move to some other team, but I don’t even know where, mercedes don’t look strong at all lately, ferrari or aston seem unlikely because of their line up and mclaren hasn’t been a top team in a very long time now.

    2. I pretty much agree with this. I voted stay with Red Bull for now but will leave the sport completely before his contract end date.

      I cannot see the point in him leaving Red Bull at the moment i.e. for 2025. If they are uncompetitive come the 2026 season then he may leave after then.

  5. It is very likely that Red Bull reaches the end of a cycle. Mateschitz passed away, Newey will leave, Honda gets replaced by Ford, Horner might leave, Marko will leave. Yes, the team is very dominant now, but I think the team is in the autumn of their success. It will be good for Verstappen, but also for F1 as a whole if Verstappen changes teams before 2028.

  6. Verstappen definitely won’t sit out his RB contract. I think a 2026 Mercedes move is very likely.

  7. He doesn’t appeal F1 anymore, he’ll quit at the end of 2025.

    1. Hey, it’s my best friend in the world!

      He doesn’t appeal anymore? F1 doesn’t appeal to him anymore or he doesn’t appeal to F1 anymore?

      1. That unemployed friend

        1. Don’t be moody, my semi-literate, retired best friend.

  8. This is pure hopium, but Max to Ferrari in 2026-2027.

  9. Neil (@neilosjames)
    28th April 2024, 14:17

    I think the most likely option is a move to another team before then.

    But (as much as I wouldn’t want it to)… I’ve been following F1 very closely since 1995 or so, and Verstappen is the first champion/elite level driver I’ve seen who gives the impression he might leave F1 in his 20s. So I do think there’s a small but real chance he might decide he’d be happier exploring the wider world of motorsport. There’s so much to choose from and he could do absolutely anything he wanted.

  10. Short answer: Yes, but with the caveat of leaving after 2026, depending competitive order in that season.

  11. Verstappen has had his flirtations with endurance racing, but has he ever spoken about Indycar? If anyone is well positioned to take that legendary Triple Crown, he’s surely one of, if not the, top candidate(s). The last big opportunity to see that history repeat itself was the 2008 Le Mans, where F1 champion and Indy 500 winner Jacques Villeneuve finished 2nd with Peugeot as the only other car on the winner’s lap. So close yet so far.

    But anyway, Verstappen can bide his time. Even if he sticks around at Red Bull for 2026 to see how that shakes out, I’m guessing he’ll still be a top pick for other teams in 2027. There probably aren’t more than one or two drivers who wouldn’t be pushed aside if Verstappen showed interest in another team.

    1. but has he ever spoken about Indycar?

      Yes, he respect the drivers a lot but thinks the indy 500 track is insane.

      1. Well that’s rather definitive. I recall Schumacher had similar misgivings about the superspeedways.

      2. Jockey Ewing
        28th April 2024, 17:30

        Maybe then he could try to win a season without racing the oval rounds. There are/were teams who run different drivers for the road and the oval races. Being champion like that would be a sound challenge to tackle for him.

      3. He doesn’t have those Alonso sized balls. Few to none in F1 today do. They’re so coddled from a safety point of view that IC must seem like a death sport to them.

    2. Vestappen is one of the few current drivers who potentially could claim the Triple Crown but I don’t think he’s particularly interested in it.

  12. If anyone is well positioned to take that legendary Triple Crown, he’s surely one of, if not the, top candidate

    I have felt this way for years.
    In fact (bear in mind I know nothing about present day Indy or Le Mans drivers) I suspect he is the only racing driver today who might pull it off.
    Oh I would LOVE to see him go for it :)

    1. Whoops – should have been a reply to MichaelN above.
      That’s a 5 second penalty to me I suppose :(

      1. This year minor infractions give you 10 sec penalties, sorry!

    2. It’s going to be really tricky to win Le Mans if the WEC keeps up this large field of top class LMH/LMDh. Alonso basically had a 50% chance to win when he drove for Toyota, which doesn’t diminish his personal performance (which was by all accounts as solid as one would expect), but that is far from the case today.

    3. FA qualified second in the Indy 500. So, pretty sure he’s the only one position to win one since Max is too terrified to run it (I’d be terrified too) and you don’t have to be super young to win it.

      1. I think he said he wouldn’t race Indy untill he quits F1 to big chance on injuries otherwise. I know he does already oval on the sims and does a rather good job with it.
        We will see what he is going to select.

      2. Alonso did do well on his first go at the Indy 500, but even if his car didn’t break down I think he’d, at best, have been on the fridges of the top 10 after a disastrous restart. His subsequent attempts didn’t pan out, even failing to qualify on his second attempt.
        The Indy 500 seems to be the biggest hurdle to claiming the Triple Crown as it’s substantially different to F1 and WEC as while all 3 events need considerable luck to win (being in the best time, getting the right conditions, being in the right position and your car not failing on you) the jump between driving an F1 car to a WEC car is quite short compared to an Indycar on a superspeedway.
        Does make me wonder why a top WEC team hasn’t put Montoya in their team seeing as he’s won Monaco and the 500 (twice) and has done well in LMP2, so the Triple Crown should be within reach for him.

  13. Will this website continue its spiral into tabloid headlines? Did he say he was leaving?

    1. Does the article claim he is leaving either?
      What an OTT comment.

  14. Max should quit F1.
    Stay in Formula E until he wins a championship.
    Whilst also doing WEC until he wins a championship.
    Indycar afterwards.

    Bro needs to try being the motorsports world champion.

    1. No one cares about Formula E. Their champions are unknown (I’ve never met anyone who knows which drivers won a Formula E title) and if Nyck could win, it can be that big an accomplishment.

      1. You know several driver who were champion of FE van Doorn, De Vries, Nelson Piquet Jr., Sébastien Buemi, Lucas di Grassi and Jean-Éric Vergne.
        And Nyck is a good driver couldn’t show it when the car is awefull but due his input the car became much beter.

      2. What a silly comment.
        From a sample size of 1 you claim no one knows anything about FE.

        Don’t see why you have to sniff out comments to push a silly agenda. This isn’t about your perceived understanding of how popular FE is, it’s about Max’s possible future.

  15. I mean sure he could. But I very much doubt he would. Look back at the dominant drivers of the last couple decades, Schumacher/Vettel/Hamilton. None of them left their teams during their dominant years. They all left after they saw their teams dropping off, not before. Of course Max could buck that trend and leave on a high, but probably more likely he stays on until/if the car isn’t capable of winning consistently anymore.

  16. My best guess – we are witnessing the early days of the fall of the Red Bull team. Newey will be gone, somewhere. Horner will be fully investigated and dismissed, Max’s exit clause triggered by either Newey or Horner and he is off to Merc.

    1. to add – RB Visa sold to Andretti

  17. I reckon if Newey heads to Aston Martin then Max could possibly end up there in ’27 if RBR Ford are uncompetitive. If Newey goes to Ferrari or retires then Mercedes looks like his best bet for the change of regulations in ’26.

  18. I think newey and max are moving where ever the Honda goes,

  19. I am usually quite vocal about apparent ‘protest voting’, so call me a hypocrite but I went with no opinion.

    Perhaps that was a bit harsh as I guess the premise is entirely valid in a ‘throw the question out there amongst mates down the pub’ kind of way, though it still seems like a slightly odd basis for discussion, and one of the more ‘stab in the dark’ polls of recent times.

    1. Yes, I also went for no opinion, not for the same reason, but simply cause there’s not enough info to say atm, voting that he would leave red bull right now seems silly, but if newey leaves and the engine comes out badly then it’s not so silly any more.

    2. Don’t you go voting for RFK Jr. this November!

      BTW, I agree. A fairly pointless poll with so few pieces having fallen in place.

      1. notagrumpyfan
        29th April 2024, 8:27

        A fairly pointless poll

        Many polls are, especially if the question starts with “Will …”.
        The only correct answer is “I don’t know!”

  20. If he is going to move he will do it by mid next season at the latest, as he would want to move before a sinking ship devalues Him.

  21. Max will stay at RedBull to the end of his contract, and if the results are still at the top, he will continue there. If not, he will quit F1 and go off doing something else. Might be endurance racing, or something outside racing. Or maybe stop doing anything competitive himself, and become a coach for young talent like his dad was for him.
    RedBull will not fall of a cliff before 2026, that is just hopeful/spiteful thinking of many commentators. Maybe the next gen car will be less dominant. In that case Max will try for one maybe two years, and then stop. If still on top, he will continue.

    1. Red Bull’s “cliff” will likely be the same as what they had in 2014 rather then Williams in 1998. The RB10 wasn’t terrible but it wasn’t anywhere near as good as it had been.

  22. He could also become a fireman. Who is to say?

  23. Will he stay, will he go? I don’t really care as long as he drives in F1. To me he is the most exciting driver at the moment, even if he drives a Williams.
    btw those computer programmed race cars are interesting from a technologie pov to develop self driving cars but sure hope it is not going to become a series, totally uninteresting without a driver at the wheel

    1. I concur, with both of your points.

      Max: Yes, would like to see him going on in F1, even in a Williams. But not sure if he will, almost certain he will not.

      Autonomous cars: I was underwhelmed with the show, was expecting better. After seeing the technology grow from 2007 (first DARPA challenge) to where it is now for road cars (Tesla) I was expecting more from this race. And while I like the idea of autonomous road cars, I agree that for real racing there needs to be a human driver. Racing robots could be nice as a geek sport, but not real. Computer chess is impressive, but grandmasters playing is still better as sport, even if the computers are better at chess. For cars will be the same.

  24. Horner stays. (Jos don’t like that.)
    Newey leaves. (Maybe to Ferrari.)
    Honda leaves. (To Aston Martin, maybe other teams.)
    Ford arrives. (Could be decent, or bad.)
    Red Bull may sink.

    If Newey can work out the 2026 negotiation so he can leave, maybe Max can do that too.
    Max could go to AM or Merc.

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