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Max Verstappen, the double world champion at a mere 25 years old, is once again making waves with his contemplative gaze fixed on the future of the sport. It seems that the flame that fuels Verstappen’s driving passion also casts a shadow of uncertainty on how long he’ll continue to burn rubber on the track. The Dutch sensation, who could potentially call it quits in 2028, or even sooner, has stirred the pot, sparking fiery reactions from the likes of George Russell. But Max, well, he’s not taking this lying down, and he’s shooting back with some candid comments of his own.

The Mercedes driver accused Verstappen of wanting more money. Last month, George Russell didn’t mince words when he accused Verstappen of whinging about the future of F1 and the increasing number of races purely because he wants more money. “I think he’s whinging because he wants more money!” Russell publicly stated, triggering waves of speculation. But Verstappen’s recent comments seem to be doing more than just blasting these allegations off the track. He’s driving the conversation towards deeper, more essential questions about the sport he loves.

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Verstappen’s words seem to be fueled by something more profound than mere financial gain. Speaking to De Telegraaf, “Sometimes I think: Is this still worth it?” he questioned, sharing his feelings about the sport’s demanding nature and increasing commercial focus. “Why do you have to change certain things when things are going well? I think a traditional qualifying session is well organized that way. It shouldn’t just be about money,” he adds. To him, it’s about the love of racing, the quality of life, and finding a balance. “People may think: he makes a lot of money, what is that guy complaining about? But it’s about well-being, how you live things and not how much you earn.”

Verstappen has fired his shot, and it’s clear he’s not merely chasing dollars. And as Verstappen speeds towards his third successive driver’s title, the real race seems to be happening away from the tracks. As his recent statements have ignited speculations about his future with Red Bull.

Max Verstappen’s dubious future with Red Bull

A great champion is defined not only by his triumphs but also by his fears. Despite being hailed for his insane driving skills, Max Verstappen now finds himself considering the “what-ifs” of his future. Loyalty to Red Bull has always been his hallmark, but recent statements have hinted at a possible shakeup. A threat to quit if the team can’t maintain performance after 2026 has certainly raised eyebrows.

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In a candid interview, Verstappen laid it bare, “I don’t see myself spending three years in the midfield. I’d rather stay home or do something else. But again, I don’t see that [RB not delivering] happening.” These words echo not just a hypothetical scenario but a reality check on how reliant he is on Red Bull’s performance. It’s a declaration that sends ripples through the F1 community.

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What do you think will Verstappen really retire early from F1?

WATCH THIS STORY | 9 Years as Garage Mates, Yet Max Verstappen Overlooked in GOAT Talk for Being a Ruthless Winner

Written by

Vidhita

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Vidhita is an F1 writer at EssentiallySports. Driven by her deep passion for motorsports and a love for the exhilaration of speed. Since 2016, she has been captivated by the world of F1 after watching a race with a relative, and her fascination has only grown stronger over the years.
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Edited by

Aishwary Gaonkar