Verstappen could quit Red Bull before 2028 if they get F1 2026 regs wrong: “I’d rather stay at home”

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Despite modest attempts to lessen its environmental impact, the Formula 1 calendar will include 24 races next year, including six sprint races, and necessitate about 200,000 miles of air travel. Formula 1 World Champion Max Verstappen has consistently expressed concerns over the immense toll it will bring drivers and personnel.

Max Verstappen after winning the Belgian Grand Prix with his dad and his sister
Photo credit: Red Bull Content Pool

Verstappen expressed his worry in an interview with the Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf, stating that F1’s need for expansion occasionally causes him to wonder “whether it is all worth it” to continue competing.

“I’m worried about the sport I have always enjoyed. I still do, but only to a certain extent.

“It’s not that I’m totally against change like some people claim. But those changes have to be benefit Formula 1.

“Why do you have to change things when they’re going well? I think a traditional qualifying session is a great format; it doesn’t all have to revolve around money.

“People might think: ‘Well, he makes a lot of money; what is that guy complaining about?’ But it’s about your well-being, how you experience things and not how much you make.

“I feel like I have to do too much and skip other things [I enjoy doing], so I sometimes think: ‘Is still worth it?'”

Max Verstappen on the podium at the Belgian Grand Prix
Photo credit: Red Bull Content Pool

The Dutchman’s contract until 2028 with Red Bull could be his last; he explained that he loses “a month per year” to Red Bull’s massive marketing initiatives. He also criticises the additional off-track duties that come with the position.

His criticism of the human cost F1 bears is not limited to the number of races.

“[Travel] isn’t the biggest problem. It’s more about all the extra stuff I have to do.

“Thursdays on a race weekend can be very long depending on where we are, and outside the grands prix, there’s a lot of simulator work.

“For example, I lose over a month per year to marketing. At a certain moment you just don’t feel like doing all that anymore.”

However, when asked about possibly dropping out of his contracting 2026 if Red Bull’s performance dips with the new regulations, he said: “Things would have to be really bad for that to happen.

“I don’t expect the team to fall back that much with all the great people we have. But in this sport it’s always possible you’re not that competitive.

“It depends on what the prospects are, but yeah, I don’t see myself touring in the midfield for three years. Then I’d rather stay at home or go do something else. But again, I don’t expect that to happen.”