Red Bull has prematurely extended the contract with Max Verstappen. The new deal binds the world champion to the Milton Keynes racing team until 2028. This makes it the longest driver's contract of all time - and certainly also one of the most lucrative.
Red Bull has fulfilled its announcement. Only three months after winning the title, the targeted long-term contract with Max Verstappen is now sealed. As the racing team officially announced on Thursday (March 3rd), the new agreement runs for six years until the end of the 2028 season.
Hardly any expert expected such a long term. The deal even extends beyond the switch to the next generation of engines, which are scheduled to be introduced in the 2026 season. So the signature is not without risk for Verstappen. No other pilot in the premier class had signed such a long contract before.
Verstappen surpasses Schumi era
The Dutchman has been in the Red Bull cockpit since the 2016 Spanish Grand Prix. In 118 races for the Milton Keynes team he has racked up 20 wins, 16 pole positions and one world title. Should Verstappen hold out until the end of the term, he will then have completed almost 13 years in a row for the energy drink racing team. That even surpasses Michael Schumacher's record era at Ferrari, which lasted eleven years.
The old contract would actually have expired at the end of the 2023 season. But Red Bull didn't want to wait any longer to extend the contract. Verstappen will certainly have paid for the early signature with a decent salary premium. Sums in excess of the 40 million euro mark are circulating in the British press. That would put Verstappen on the same level as Lewis Hamilton. That would make him the highest-paid Dutch athlete of all time.
Red Bull can easily afford the mega salary. First of all, relatively little money has recently been spent on the second driver in the team. Secondly, the development costs have fallen significantly due to the budget cap introduced in 2021. As is well known, the driver's fees are not part of the limited editions. And thirdly, with Oracle and ByBit, Red Bull has just found two solvent sponsors.
Red Bull makes a statement
The 24-year-old driver was happy that the negotiations were concluded before the start of the new season: "I really enjoy driving for Red Bull. That's why it was an easy one for me Decision to stay until 2028. I love this team. Last year was just incredible. Ever since I arrived, winning the world title has been our common goal. We have now achieved that to hold the car."
Team boss Christian Horner was also pleased that the cooperation will continue: "Loying Max to us until the end of the 2028 season is a real statement. Our short-term focus is of course on defending the title, but this deal also shows that he "It's part of our long term plan. Our engine department is already working towards the new rules for 2026. So we wanted to make sure we had the best driver in the field for this car."