Max Verstappen has committed his future to Red Bull by signing a new five-year contract extension worth a staggering €241.41m, doubling his previous salary.
The deal, which could earn Verstappen as much as £40m-a-season, is arguably the most lucrative in Formula One history, and will see the world champion remain at Red Bull until the end of 2028.
Verstappen, 24, has been rewarded for beating Lewis Hamilton to the world title last year – and the salary increase matches Hamilton's €96.56m two-year Mercedes deal which expires at the end of next year. .
“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. “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.”
The Mercedes team principal, Toto Wolff, has long been an admirer of Verstappen, with his Red Bull counterpart Christian Horner claiming the Dutchman would be his rival's number one target when Hamilton retires. But relations became strained between the two parties during last year's bitter title fight.
For his part, Verstappen, who made his F1 debut when he was 17 before becoming the sport's youngest winner when he triumphed on his Red Bull debut a year later, had always said he would remain with them if they delivered a machine capable of fighting for world titles. Verstappen will open his championship defence later this month when the new season starts in Bahrain on March 20th.
The Russian driver Nikita Mazepin, meanwhile, will not be allowed to race at the British Grand Prix after Motorsport UK confirmed the UK ban on Russian competitors. The organisation has confirmed the ban will extend to Russian and Belarusian drivers in all motorsport disciplines.