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Verstappen explains true mindset on F1 future after sprint race remarks

Max Verstappen has opened up on the factors that will define his long-term future in Formula 1, amid recent talk that he could quit the series over sprint races.

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing

The world champion has made no secret of his dislike for sprint race events, and remarks he made on the topic at the Australian Grand Prix were interpreted by some as being a quit threat over them.

But ahead of the first F1 sprint weekend of the year in Baku, Verstappen has shed some light on his true thought process regarding his future in grand prix racing after his current contract runs out in 2028.

PLUS: Why Verstappen’s F1 sprint race 'quit threat' isn’t rooted in reality

And rather than it just being elements like sprint races that will dictate what he does, he has made clear that what matters far more to him is the overall state of F1 and the demands that places on drivers.

Asked by Autosport if he would really walk away from F1 because of sprint races, Verstappen said: “I think I always said that even if there won't be any more sprint races, if we keep expanding the calendar and the whole weekend is that long, at one point you question yourself - is it worth it?

“I do like racing. I do like winning. I know that, of course, there is the salary and everything, and you have a good life. But is it actually a good life?

“I think sometimes you get to a point in your career where maybe you want to do other stuff. I have the contract until the end of 2028 and then we'll review again, but I do feel that if it's getting at one point too much, then it's time for a change.”

He added: “This sounds very weird for people from the outside, because they're like, ‘oh, you're in Formula 1, you're winning!’ And probably I would have said the same when I was in their position.

“But once you're in it, it's not always how it looks like or how people think your life is. I mean, yes, it's great, it's amazing and I can do a lot of things. I'm very independent. But there is always a limit to certain things.”

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing, 1st position, with his medal on the podium

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing, 1st position, with his medal on the podium

Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

Verstappen said while he fully understood the business reasons for F1 pursuing ideas like sprint races, he was only interested in the purity of the racing – and he felt the spectacle did not benefit that much from them.

“Probably F1 looks at it from a business point of view,” he said. “I understand the sprint races, they probably add a bit more excitement, but then I look at it from the racing point of view.

"And I'm like, ‘well normally, when you then do the sprint races, lap one is exciting, a few shunts here and there, damage, blah, blah, blah, and safety car, a bit more excitement.

PLUS: The winners and losers from F1's new sprint format

"But then throughout the race, you get quite a clear picture of what is happening, and who is the quickest, so then you also have quite a clear view on what's going to happen the next day.

“That probably takes a bit the shine away from the main event, which I think always should be the special event.”

Endurance but not IndyCar future

Verstappen said that while F1 is delivering for him all the satisfaction he needs right now, he was eager to compete in other series – especially endurance racing - in the future.

“Some people just love racing and that's the only thing they know and the only thing they want to do,” he said.

“I am probably a bit more in the middle. I mean, I do love racing. But I also want to do other kinds of racing. And then you can't combine the two or set up other kinds of stuff.”

A switch to endurance racing would offer him the chance to team up with his father Jos – although he has also suggested having his own team is of interest as well.

Asked if his dad would still be young enough to race with him at Le Mans in the future, Verstappen said: “I keep telling him that time is ticking, and he is getting older. But even if it is not with my dad, we will see.

“I also even have the passion of setting up my own team as well. There's a lot of things I would like to do outside of just driving myself.”

One thing Verstappen has ruled out though is a move across to the United States and competing in IndyCar.

“I like watching IndyCar,” he said. “I think there are a lot of great drivers in there and also people I raced against, so I have a good connection with them. And I like seeing them do well.

“But me driving the Indy 500? Absolutely not. I might go there and watch but not race.”

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