For victories, titles and lots of cash: world champion Max Verstappen has laid the foundation for a successful era in Formula 1 with a mega deal and will in future also face his World Cup rival Lewis Hamilton on the pay slip.
The Dutchman prematurely extended his contract with Red Bull, which runs until the end of 2023, by a further five years and will thus be in the cockpit of the top team in the hunt for the title at least until the end of 2028.
Formula 1 can plan for the long term with one of its greatest attractions.
Red Bull confirmed the agreement on Thursday, but did not give any figures.
“I really enjoy being part of this team.
The decision to extend until 2028 was very easy for me," said Verstappen.
The aim now is to remain number one in Formula 1 in the long term: “I love this team.
The past year was just incredible.” Team boss Christian Horner praised Verstappen's signature as a “real statement” from the “best driver”.
Red Bull has the signature cost a lot.
According to the Dutch daily De Telegraaf, the lucrative contract should guarantee the 24-year-old Verstappen between 40 and 50 million euros a year.
It would almost be a doubling of his previous salary, with which Verstappen advances into a region in which only record champion Hamilton has found himself so far.
The Briton is expected to receive an estimated base salary of 40 million euros at Mercedes in the 2022 season.
In Formula 1, which is concerned with thrift, such astronomical salaries seem out of place.
However, driver costs are excluded from the general budget ceiling of 140 million US dollars for 2022.
There is no official cap on salaries - although the topic has been discussed in the past.
Verstappen had already expressed his desire to stay at Red Bull after the controversial 2021 season finale in Abu Dhabi.
"There's no reason to say goodbye.
I want to drive for this team for a long time," Verstappen said.
The Dutchman has been driving in Formula 1 since 2015. He has been in the Red Bull cockpit since 2016 and has won 20 races since then.
“Ever since we started working together, our goal has been to win the championship.
We did it," said Verstappen, who will defend his title in the upcoming 2022 season with the 1 on the car.
Verstappen wants to claim the starting number with symbolic character as often as possible.
There are enough opportunities for this.
If he fulfills his contract, Verstappen would be at the wheel for 13 years for Red Bull.