LONDON — Formula One champion Max Verstappen has received a contract extension that keeps him at Red Bull to 2028.
The 24-year-old Verstappen was rewarded on Thursday for beating Lewis Hamilton to win his first world championship last year, with another five years added on the contract that ran through 2023.
“Choosing to stay to the 2028 season was an easy decision,” the Dutchman said in a statement. “I love this team and last year was simply incredible. Our goal since we came together in 2016 was to win the championship and we have done that, so now it’s about keeping the number one on the car long-term.”
Really proud to announce that @redbullracing will be my home until at least 2028. I love this team and I am very happy to continue this amazing journey we are on for a long time. We have accomplished so much together already but we are definitely not done.💪✍️ pic.twitter.com/ONWq32B835
— Max Verstappen (@Max33Verstappen) March 3, 2022
Verstappen, who made his F1 debut at the age of 17, will open his title defense in Bahrain on March 20.
“Our immediate focus is on retaining Max’s world championship title, but this deal also shows he is a part of the team’s long-term planning,” team principal Christian Horner said.
“With the Red Bull Powertrains division working towards the new engine regulations for 2026 we wanted to make sure we had the best driver on the grid secured for that car.”
After winning one to three races per season in each of his first five years, the pieces came together in 2021 when Red Bull Racing gave Verstappen his first World Championship in one of the most hotly contested seasons Formula One has ever witnessed.
“When Max first joined the team, he was a teenager, just 17 years of age,” Red Bull Racing team principal Christian Horner said last year. “He’d done two years of car racing – and he jumped in our car and won on the first time he sat in it at the Barcelona Grand Prix. What we’ve witnessed over the last few years is that he’s had this prodigious talent and he’s just developed as a driver, as a young man.
“Finally we’ve been able to give him a car to challenge for this World Championship and he’s been outstanding this year.
“The level of consistency, the amount of laps that he’s led, the pole positions that he’s achieved. The high-pressure moments that he’s stepped up to the plate have been outstanding this year … When you look at the whole season, I know a lot of people are caught up in the actions of the last five laps of Abu Dhabi, but when you look at the 22 races, he’s without a shadow of a doubt an extremely deserving World Champion.”