Max Verstappen commits future to Red Bull in bumper deal

The deal, reportedly worth up to £40million ($54 million) per season, will keep the Dutch driver with the team until the end of 2028.

FILE: Max Verstappen. Picture: 123rf.com

LONDON - World champion Max Verstappen has signed a five-year contract extension with Red Bull, the Formula One team announced on Thursday.

The deal, reportedly worth up to £40million ($54 million) per season, will keep the Dutch driver with the team until the end of 2028.

The 24-year-old's current contract was due to expire at the end of next season but he has been rewarded for beating seven-time champion Lewis Hamilton to the title.

Britain-based Red Bull said in their statement the five-year extension was "in addition to the original deal that covered the 2023 season".

"I really enjoy being part of the Red Bull Racing team, so choosing to stay to the 2028 season was an easy decision," said Verstappen, who will begin his championship defence later this month at the Bahrain Grand Prix.

"I love this team and last year was simply incredible. Our goal since we came together in 2016 was to win the championship and we have done that, so now it’s about keeping the number one on the car long-term."

Team principal Christian Horner said: "To have Max signed with Oracle Red Bull Racing through to the end of 2028 is a real statement of intent.

"Our immediate focus is on retaining Max's world championship title, but this deal also shows he is a part of the team's long-term planning."

Verstappen, the son of former F1 driver Jos Verstappen, won his first world title in dramatic circumstances at December's season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

Hamilton was poised to capture a record-breaking eighth world title before a controversial safety car restart allowed Verstappen to pass his British rival on the last lap.

Michael Masi was last month removed as F1 race director over his management of the race.