Reigning back-to-back world champion Max Verstappen says it’s Formula 1’s ever-expanding annual race calendars that will drive him off the grid.
The 25-year-old Dutchman is openly declaring that he might call it quits after his 2028 contract with Red Bull – when he will be just 31.
When asked by De Limburger newspaper to comment on the sport’s 24-race calendar, which currently sits at 23 due to the latest China GP axe, Verstappen said: “I have often said that this is too much.
“It’s the main reason why I will not continue to do this until I turn 40. This much travelling and activity is just not healthy.
“I still really like it now, but you have to give up a lot for it as well. That sounds crazy because driving in Formula 1 is of course a dream for many people.
“But you are always very far from home and from the people you love. There comes a time when you are done with that.”
Verstappen’s potential six-year countdown to his retirement is alarming for many of his fans.
“But that’s how it really is,” he insists. “When I’m done with it, I’ll stop. It’s that simple.
“I hope that I by then I have been able to inspire and motivate the young Dutch generation in such a way that by the time I stop there may be new talent ready.
“I hope that when I am 31, there will be a new one ready,” Verstappen added.
He is currently with girlfriend Kelly Piquet, the 34-year-old daughter of triple world champion Nelson Piquet.
If they have children, they will therefore have great genetic and racing pedigree – similar to his own parents Jos Verstappen and karting champion Sophie Kumpen.
“He or she will not be ready for Formula 1 in six or seven years,” Max laughed. “But I definitely want kids and if they want to race, that’s fine.
“I do think I would do it differently than how my father and I did it. But it’s easy for me to say that because I don’t have kids now.
“But the passion he had went very far,” Verstappen added, referring to his father. “He did everything for me – tuning engines, preparing karts. I don’t see myself doing that.
“I’m not going to push my kids to race either. They have to want it for themselves. And if you do go all out with your son or daughter, you can no longer be in Formula 1 yourself.
“You’d have to start laying the foundation from the age of four, and I still want to be there myself.”