Max Verstappen's Dad Hints at How Red Bull Can Win New Contract With Champion

The Red Bull driver is under contract until 2028, but several Formula One teams are expected to attempt to court him early.
Nov 18, 2023; Las Vegas, Nevada, USA; Red Bull Racing Honda driver Max Verstappen of Netherlands (1)
Nov 18, 2023; Las Vegas, Nevada, USA; Red Bull Racing Honda driver Max Verstappen of Netherlands (1) / Lucas Peltier-USA TODAY Sports

Over the next five years, Formula One could change dramatically. In that time period, the entire power supply ecosystem will be flipped on its head, Lewis Hamilton will have presumably driven for or still be driving for Ferrari, and reigning champion Max Verstappen could become a free agent.

Verstappen, once viewed as a longshot to leave behind the organization he has spent his entire F1 career with (first with Scuderia Toro Rosso, the sister team of Red Bull), now appears to be more of a flight risk. He has won three consecutive World Drivers' Championships and appears a strong possibility to earn his fourth in 2024. Going into Miami weekend, he is ahead of the No. 2 driver, his teammate Sergio Perez, by 25 points.

But despite powerful results on the track, lingering turmoil having to do with allegations of misconduct by team boss Christian Horner and other members of the team creates enough noise for doubts to start to creep in.

Verstappen's dad, a former F1 driver himself, recently spoke to the press and suggested there's an opportunity for Red Bull -- or, really, any team -- to prove Verstappen they're worthy of his continued involvement. Jos, Max's dad, gestured toward 2026 as the period to learn what might be next for Verstappen.

“He has a fast car, but we also have to look further to 2026, so we are letting everything come to us at the moment. We stay very calm and see what will happen,” Jos Verstappen said to RaceXpress as transcribed and translated by RacingNews365 recently.

That timeline lines up directly with new power supplies that will emerge when the FIA mandates technical changes to the regulations of the engines. Red Bull, who has seen much of its success come with a Honda engine, will switch to making their own engines for the new regulations in partnership with Ford. It makes it clear ... The car is fast now, but will it still be with the new engine?

Verstappen has declared he sees no reason for the team to panic over the change, but a failure to launch with a new engine in addition to some of the lingering turmoil with personnel could certainly lead Verstappen to more heavily consider other options when he hits free agency in 2028.

He also has a rumored exit clause that could lead to his departure in 2024. The clause is tied to Helmut Marko leaving the team.


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Josh Wilson

JOSH WILSON

Josh Wilson is the News Director of the Breaking & Trending News Team at Sports Illustrated. Before joining the SI team in 2024, Josh worked for FanSided in a variety of roles, most recently as Senior Managing Editor of the brand’s flagship site. He has also served as a general manager of Sportscasting, the sports arm of a startup sports media company, where he oversaw the site’s editorial and business strategy. Josh has a Bachelor’s degree in mass communications from the State University of New York at Cortland and a Master’s degree in accountancy from the Gies College of Business at the University of Illinois. Josh loves a good nonfiction book and enjoys learning and practicing Polish. He lives in Chicago but was raised in Upstate NY. He spent most of his life in the Northeast and briefly lived in Poland where he ate an unhealthy amount of pastries for six months.