Red Bull chief Christian Horner has warned that Max Verstappen is a ‘huge’ distance away from winning a record eight Drivers’ Championships. It means that Verstappen may never topple Lewis Hamilton and Michael Schumacher due to his revelation earlier this year that he could retire from Formula One prematurely.
Verstappen is on course to win a third-consecutive world title this weekend. He could achieve the rare feat of having his triumph wrapped up on a Saturday, needing just a sixth-place finish in the Qatar Grand Prix sprint race to retain the trophy.
But Horner believes it will be years before the Dutchman wins another five to become the most-decorated F1 driver of all-time. “Eight is a huge amount of distance away,” the Red Bull team principal told Sky Sports.
He added: “There are not many drivers with more than three [titles]. You’ve got Sebastian [Vettel], Alain Prost, [Juan-Manuel] Fangio, Michael Schumacher and Lewis Hamilton,” said Horner. “It’s a pretty select club he’ll enter when he wins his third world title.
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“For him, he’s just an out-and-out racer. I know he’s proud of what he’s doing and achieving, but he’s forward-looking. He’s not rearward looking and I think that for him it’s about the next race. There is still six races to go this year and I know he’s motivated to try and win all of them.”
Verstappen has previously hinted at ending his career early, suggesting he has other interests. “Formula One is a lot of fun, I’m very successful there at the moment. But I would like to try something else,” he said after signing a contract until 2028 last year.
“My contract with Red Bull runs until 2028, when I will be 31. I will probably be competitive for a few years after that. But during these years, I want to live other experiences, have a little more fun with less pressure and also with a less tight schedule.”
Verstappen said in April that he could also quit if the sport’s authorities continue to make too many changes to the calendar and rules. “I think that’s much better for the excitement. Naturally, I hope there won’t be too many changes; otherwise, I won’t do it, I won’t be here for long,” he said.
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“If we keep expanding the calendar and the whole weekend is that long, at one point you question yourself ‘is it worth it?'”
Speaking later that month, he reiterated: “I do like racing, I do like winning. I know that of course the salary and everything, you have a good life, but is it actually a good life? I think sometimes you get to a point in your career where maybe you want to do other stuff.
“I know that I have a contract until the end of 2028, and then we’ll review again. But I do feel that if it’s getting at one point too much, then it’s time for a change.”
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