Verstappen sometimes questions if hectic F1 lifestyle "is still worth it"

Formula 1 world champion Max Verstappen says he sometimes wonders if the championship's relentless time commitment "is still worth it" amid criticism on its expanding schedule.

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing in the paddock

Verstappen has repeatedly voiced his concerns over F1's growing calendar, which will peak at 24 races next year and involve nearly 200,000 miles of air travel despite modest efforts to reduce its footprint.

A double-header in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia will kick off F1's record season, followed by four individual flyaway events in Australia, Japan, China and Miami as well as two triple-headers later in the year.

On top of that F1 has added up to six sprint races per season, which adds extra strain on the team personnel.

PLUS: How F1 teams manage the punishing reality of F1’s relentless schedule

In an interview with Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf, Verstappen says F1's unrelenting thirst for growth is sometimes making him consider "whether it is all worth it" to stay involved.

"I'm worried about the sport I have always enjoyed," said Verstappen, whose 2028 Red Bull F1 deal could potentially be his last. "I still do, but only to a certain extent.

"It's not that I'm totally against change, like some people claim. But those changes have to be benefit Formula 1.

"Why do you have to change things when they're going well? I think a traditional qualifying session is a great format, it doesn't all have to revolve around money.

"People might think, 'Well, he makes a lot of money, what is that guy complaining about?' But it's about your wellbeing, how you experience things and not how much you make. 

"I feel like I have to do too much and skip other things [I enjoy doing], so I sometimes think, 'Is still worth it?'"

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB19

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB19

Photo by: Erik Junius

Verstappen says his criticism of the human cost F1 is taking doesn't just revolve around the number of races, but also all the extra off-track activities that come with the job, saying he loses a "month per year" to Red Bull's extensive marketing activities.

"[Travel] isn't the biggest problem. It's more about all the extra stuff I have to do," he explained.

"Thursdays on a race weekend can be very long depending on where we are and outside the grands prix there's a lot of simulator work. 

"For example, I lose over a month per year to marketing. At a certain moment you just don't feel like doing all that anymore."

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When asked if he could walk away from F1 before his current 2028 deal ends if Red Bull misses out with 2026's new regulation cycle, the Dutchman replied: "Things would have to be really bad for that to happen.

"I don't expect the team to fall back that much with all the great people we have. But in this sport it's always possible you're not that competitive.

"It depends on what the prospects are, but yeah, I don't see myself touring in the midfield for three years. Then I'd rather stay at home or go do something else. But again, I don't expect that to happen."

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