“If You Told Me I Have to Retire…”: Max Verstappen Reflects on Life After F1 as Reality Sets in Post-Celebrations

Published 10/08/2023, 7:41 AM EDT

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As of Saturday, October 7, 2023, Max Verstappen is officially a three-time Formula 1 World Champion. Having joined legends like Niki Lauda and Ayrton Senna after his achievement, could it be that he, too, like these legends, won’t have more than three titles to his name? Verstappen hasn’t been too secretive about his intention of retiring early. This season, though, he’s expressed it more than once. Considering he’s just 26 and already has so many accolades, you would think he’d want to stay in F1 for as long as possible. Well, that’s not what he thinks.

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The Red Bull and Verstappen pairing is one of the most formidable F1 has ever seen. With the solid base they have for 2024 (and have had since 2022), there’s no questioning that the Milton-Keynes outfit will be competitive next season as well. Even so, that might not be enough to keep Verstappen in F1 if he doesn’t want that.

Max Verstappen hints at early retirement once again

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Earlier this year, when F1 released a 24-race calendar for 2024, Verstappen was among the first drivers to express his disregard. “It is too many [races] for me, but we just have to deal with it. I think it is a bit more logical the way that it is planned. 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 these things are definitely not helping for sure,” said the three-time champion. While he meant this in a negative way, what he said after his Qatar celebrations was anything but negative.

Once you achieve everything you strived for, opening up to different possibilities is natural. Could Verstappen be having the opposite of tunnel vision? Although the Dutchman is contracted to Red Bull until 2028, that isn’t stopping him from broadening his horizons. He obviously has plans post-retirement (even though he’s just 26). But the fact that he’s 26 and already thinking about retirement shows how happy he is with everything he’s achieved so far. That’s precisely what he talked about with Sky Sports.

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As soon as he finished celebrating his third consecutive title after securing a P2 in the Sprint, he sprinted to the media pen. When Sky Sports asked him if he’s already looking forward to another title, he revealed he’s not thinking about it. Instead, he said, “I’m very satisfied! If you told me I have to retire tomorrow for whatever reason, my life is good!” He’s won races and championships, broken records, rewritten history, and there’s still more to come from him (if he decides there is). 

It’s been a remarkable journey for Verstappen in F1 so far. For as long as he’s here, there’s no doubt he’ll continue creating history. When he does decide to hang up his boots, do you wonder what he may do?

What could Verstappen’s post-retirement plans look like?

Verstappen is one of those drivers who lives and breathes racing. So, it would make sense if his post-retirement plans were also racing-centered. The Dutchman is a big fan of sim racing and loves it almost as much as he does F1. To help sim racers who he thinks have the potential to become professional races, Verstappen recently revealed he is looking to form a two-car GT3 racing team solely for sim racers. That’ll be their route into professional competitive racing. You can’t rule out the possibility that he’d give it a go himself. 

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Discussing this on the On Track GP Podcast, Le Mans winner Richard Bradley said, “Max wants to do Le Mans one day. [GT racing] is the perfect way to get into it. Also, with GT racing, you don’t have the aerodynamic effects of the same level you do in Formula 1. So you don’t get the dirty air, the turbulence effect. So the racing is unbelievable.” Host Matisse Armani replied, “I’m quite interested to see how that gets along for Max. I’m excited to see his character development outside of an F1 car. I feel like there’s still a lot of potential and a lot of unseen sides of Max that we don’t know yet.” 

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What do you think the life of Max Verstappen would look like post-retirement? Could we possibly witness it before 2028?

WATCH THIS STORY | Will Max Verstappen Retire Early from F1?

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Written by:

Aditi Krishnan

757Articles

One take at a time

Aditi is an F1 writer at EssentiallySports and is essentially a sportsperson. She fell in love with F1 in 2020. It happened when her brother tuned into that first race weekend in Austria, and she knew right then and there that she had to learn everything she could about the sport.
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Edited by:

Aishwary Gaonkar

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