Max Verstappen sets timeline for quitting F1 months after signing mega £40m Red Bull deal – Express

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Reigning Formula 1 world champion Max Verstappen revealed he could walk away and retire from the sport at the end of his current deal, which he signed on the eve of the 2022 season. The Dutchman assumed the lead at the top of the Drivers’ Standings for the first time this season after he took the chequered flag at the Spanish Grand Prix last weekend. 
Upon securing his maiden championship, Verstappen inked a five-year contract worth £40 million annually to keep him at Red Bull until 2028, which will be just after his 31st birthday. While sitting on his team’s floating pontoon in the Monte-Carlo harbour, Verstappen pondered his long-term future – and retirement – for the first time. 
“The plan is to stay here until 2028,” said the 24-year-old. “I am not planning on changing teams. I am happy here and they are happy with me. But I have not made up my mind what I will do after 2028. I might stop.
“I have been in Formula 1 since I was 17. It has been a long time. I have done a lot of seasons in F1. I may want to do different stuff. By 31, I don’t know whether I will have peaked or where the drop-off in performance may have occurred.
“I want to do other types of races — endurance racing, for example. Maybe I will have had enough of travelling all the time. Maybe I will want an easier life and just to do the races I like.
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“Whenever an opportunity comes to win a championship, you want to take it. If I am in a fight in 2028 it may be stupid to suddenly stop. It is difficult to know.”
Verstappen entered the F1 arena at such a young age that he raced in the sport before he was legally licensed to drive on the roads of Belgium, where he lived at the time. He now lives in Monaco, along with last year’s bitter championship rival Lewis Hamilton.
The Dutchman insists he and Hamilton are on decent terms, but the pair haven’t met to break bread as the seven-time world champion suggested they would during their explosive title battle in 2021. Verstappen added: “What happened in the past you forget and you focus on what is ahead. We haven’t really talked about last year. It is in the past.”
Verstappen can certainly afford to make such remarks about Hamilton, as he holds a 64-point lead over the Mercedes man. The Dutchman has won four of the six races this season and now leads Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc by six points heading into Monaco this weekend.
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Leclerc has never finished a race in his native Monte-Carlo during his entire career, but he will be hopeful of rectifying that record after he let go of the championship lead. The Monegasque star hopes he will find success in his home country amid rumours F1 owners Liberty Media could cut the iconic race from the calendar in favour of a more lucrative event.
“Monaco is insane in terms of history,” said Verstappen. “It is different. It is special. Perhaps the race itself will not be the most exciting, depending on the weather, and sometimes something crazy happens. But qualifying on Saturday is the highlight of the Monaco Grand Prix.
“Watching on TV you cannot see how narrow the track is. You have to visit it to see how amazing it is. You can then see how crazy and stupid we are.”
The 22-race F1 2022 campaign – which is expected to return to a record 23 races in the near future once a Russian Grand Prix replacement is found – continues with the Monaco Grand Prix in Monte-Carlo on May 29.
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