Russell: Verstappen “whinging because he wants more money” as Dutchman ponders F1 future after 2028

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Photo source: Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team

Two world championships and one in the making in a Red Bull that just seems to be flying ahead of everyone, Max Verstappen is certainly the brightest star of the F1 paddock at the moment. But looking ahead to the future the Dutchman sounds rather uncertain beyond 2028, too many things about the way F1 is shaping for the coming years are not to his liking.

Starting from the extended racing calendar that has just reached 24 weekends on track.

“It’s too many for me, but we just have to deal with it. It’s more logical with the way it’s planned at least. I guess that’s better for everyone,” he commented to media last week in Silverstone.

Another thing that raised his concern is the new regulations that will rule development from 2026 onwards, which are set to make single-seaters rely more on electrical power.

Particularly what worries him and Red Bull is that drivers will have to downshift on straights in order to be able to generate enough energy to recharge the batteries and “it’s just not right to have to drive a car like that.”

“I also know that people will think they have an advantage so they will say the regulations are good. From my side, just looking at it as a racing driver, it’s wrong,” argued Verstappen.

“But you always have these politics in Formula 1 where one team thinks ‘Ah, yeah, we can take an advantage out of this’, and they will say it’s great.

“But at the end of the day, we have to look into what is good for the sport, and at the moment with how it’s looking, I don’t think it’s good for the sport.”

His Red Bull contract goes on until the end of 2028, when he will be only 31 years old, yet Verstappen doesn’t exclude that could be the end of the road for him in F1.

“It’s more things that have to come together, and me to make my mind up whether I stay longer or not. But, yeah, all these things are definitely not helping, for sure,” he replied when asked directly about his future.

Concerns that Mercedes driver George Russell laughed off in a separate media session ahead of the British GP, suggesting that Verstappen “is whinging because he wants more money”.

“He’s the highest paid on this grid and rightly so for what he’s achieving but even so, I think it’s all a big tactic of his, that threat of retirement,” he commented.

“I hope he doesn’t, I hope he stays for as long as I stay because I want to fight against the best drivers in the world.”

From Russell’s perspective Formula 1 is in a great moment.

“I’m head-to-head with Lewis at the moment and I want to be doing that with Max and Charles etc and I think we’re in a really great place at the moment as a sport.”

Nonetheless, it’s undeniable such a stretched out calendar that includes as many as 24 races – without counting the extra effort involved in Sprint weekends – is rather tough to manage.

“It is challenging, we can’t just keep adding more commitments, more races, there’s got to be a point where if you are adding something somewhere, something has got to be taken off,” he explained.

“Maybe at the moment we’re just adding more races and not having less commitments, so you are just working overtime.

“I’m sure it’s the same at Red Bull as well, but if we didn’t have any other commitments we’d be happy to race every weekend I’m sure.”

Other commitments such as time with the press and marketing campaigns that involve the drivers directly.

“I hear Max’s comments all the time, but I’m doing what I love and almost more the merrier to a certain extent. We’re the most fortunate, privileged people in the world to be F1 drivers. Of course there’s a huge amount of events and there’s a lot of things that come with it,” he continued.

“I’d happily take more races but have less commitments outside of the race weekend. I know obviously Red Bull probably work them quite hard from a marketing perspective.”

In the past seasons what caught the eye in F1 calendars, apart from the ever growing number of races, was the order in which weekends where sorted, making it necessary to flight from one continent to the other in a very chaotic, time and resources consuming way.

Something that Russell is satisfied to see improving with the last changes.

“Happy to see the season being a bit more geographical and more efficient for costs and what not.

“It’s still going to be pretty brutal for all of us, travelling to and from the races, especially the first four races but it’s a work in progress and it’s going in the right direction.”