A casual and light exchange between Fernando Alonso and Max Verstappen shed amusing light on the latter’s post-season plans. “Hopefully not too much,” Verstappen replied on Viaplay when asked about his upcoming weeks, signaling a much-needed break after a year of extreme, arduous, successful, and relentless racing.
Verstappen’s patience with the long season seemed to thin in Las Vegas, just before sealing his extraordinary year with an unprecedented 19th win in Abu Dhabi. The triple world champion is now set for a quiet winter at home on his simulator, stepping away from the F1 limelight.
Jos Verstappen, Max’s father, shared with Sky Deutschland the essence of his son’s winter break. “For Max, the winter break means that he eats and drinks what he wants and he can leave Formula 1 behind for a while,” he explained. “It’s important for him to recharge his batteries. He wants to rest now and be left alone and not talk about Formula 1. The training will then be intensified again from mid-January.”
Jos clarified that while Max is not ‘tired,’ the relief at the season’s conclusion is palpable. “It hasn’t been easy and many in the team are a little sick from the stress and strain of five races in six weeks on three continents,” he admitted. The pressure of the expanded calendar is not lost on the Verstappen family, with Jos expressing his limits: “24 races is too much for me, anyway. I don’t know when it will become too much for Max as well, but he will certainly honour his contract.” Verstappen’s contract with Red Bull extends through 2028.
Dr. Helmut Marko, Red Bull team advisor and mentor, praises Verstappen’s development over the season. “He took a very crucial step in tyre management,” Marko noted. “He literally senses how far he can go with it. I don’t think we’ve seen Max at his peak yet.” Marko acknowledges Verstappen’s growth in race strategy: “From time to time he gets a little impatient when the car isn’t exactly what he wanted. But in the race, he has learned not to fight anymore unless it’s necessary.” Marko concludes, “He’s become even faster whilst protecting the equipment more. I would never have thought it was possible, but I don’t see any upper limits yet.”