Max Verstappen hints he may retire from Formula One unless calendar reduced
Max Verstappen believes next season’s Formula One calendar is too long and hinted it will be a factor in whether he stays in the sport beyond 2028 – but George Russell thinks the Red Bull driver simply wants more money.
The Dutchman is powering towards a third successive drivers’ title – holding an 81-point lead heading into this weekend’s British Grand Prix – but has again suggested that ongoing disgruntlement with elements of the sport might cause him to walk away at the end of his current contract.
The 2024 Formula One calendar was released on Wednesday and it will feature a record 24 races – starting on March 2 and ending on December 8.
Verstappen says that is too many and, having already hit out at the increase in the number of sprint races and the new car regulations for 2026 this season, says he will need certain conditions if he is to extend his stay in the sport.
“It is too many (races) for me but we just have to deal with it,” Verstappen, whose Red Bull deal expires in 2028, said.
“I think it (the calendar) is a bit more logical the way that it is planned at least, I guess that is better for everyone.
“But more things will have to come together for me to make my mind up over whether I stay longer (than 2028) or not. But I think that these things are definitely not helping for sure.”
Mercedes driver Russell believes talk of retirement is a tactic from Verstappen but admitted that the lengthening calendar and the commitments on the drivers is an issue.
“I think he is whingeing because he wants more money!” Russell said.
“He is the highest paid on this grid and rightly so for what he is achieving but I think it is all a big tactic of his, this threat of retirement.
“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.
“I think we are in a great place at the moment with the sport.
“It is challenging, we can’t just keep adding more commitments and races, there has to be a point where if you add something then something has to be taken off.
“We are adding more races and more commitments and we are working overtime and I’m pretty sure that’s the case at Red Bull.
“If we didn’t have any other commitments I’m pretty sure we’d be happy to race every weekend.
“I am doing what I love. Almost the more the merrier to a certain extent. We are the most privileged people in the world to be Formula One drivers. There are a lot of things that come with it.
“I would happily take more races but less commitment outside of the race weekend.”