Max Verstappen has suggested that Ferrari would represent the “dream” team for him to drive for in Formula 1 if he were to leave Red Bull.
The reigning World Champion has been tied to Red Bull since he entered F1 with its junior team, then known as Toro Rosso, as the youngest ever F1 driver aged 17 in 2015.
Since triumphing on his senior Red Bull debut in Barcelona just over a year later Verstappen has scored 40 career victories and is well on course to secure his third consecutive F1 Drivers’ title this season.
While Verstappen is tied down to Red Bull through to the end of 2028 and has said he intends to honour that contract, the Dutchman has reiterated his desire to venture into other racing categories whilst he’s still at the top of his game.
“I know that when the current contract is concluded I will be 31 years old and it will be a point where I will have been running in Formula 1 for a long time,” he acknowledged to Sky Sports.
“I like to win, be competitive, but if you can’t fully motivate yourself to go to every race, then you have to ask yourself if you really want to continue.
“I love the 24 Hours of Le Mans and the duration races, I love watching the GT3 cars turn at the Nurburgring. These are all things I want to try in my life and don’t want to do them when I’m 40 or 50 years old , because then I won’t be at the peak of my performance anymore.
“When I’m 31, I’m pretty convinced that I’m still able to do great things.”
However, Verstappen adds it would be difficult to walk away from Red Bull if the side’s current domination continues into the new regulations planned for 2026.
The reigning champions have won 23 of the last 26 races to take place, including all seven to be held in 2023 so far. “Betting sites in the Netherlands continue to hold fast to their conviction that Max Verstappen will consistently perform highly, and the odds they have on offer show it,” says Stan Miller, who writes for Leadstar Media.
But in the scenario where Verstappen remained in F1 and not with Red Bull, he suggests Ferrari would be the team he would be most fascinated to join.
“It will also be up to how competitive we are between here and 2028. I think it would be difficult to leave with a dominant project,” he conceded.
“They often ask me if he has a dream team: I know that Ferrari has a unique history in Formula 1. It’s a team that would be great to run for.
“However, I’ve always told myself that I just want to be on the fastest car.”
Despite failing to win an F1 championship of any description since clinching the Constructors’ crown in 2008, Ferrari remain the most successful and prized constructor on the entire grid.
The likes of multiple World Champions Fernando Alonso and Sebastian Vettel have passed through the Scuderia’s hands without being able to end the team’s title drought.
In an alternate universe, though, Verstappen could have potentially already been racing in red for many years by this point in time.
The Dutch racer’s camp rebuffed the advances of both the Italian squad and that of Mercedes to remain with the Red Bull stable that ushered him through into the top echelon of single-seater racing.
Verstappen is not the only high-profile Red Bull figure to reject an approach from the famed Maranello-based entity.
Legendary F1 designer Adrian Newey, who extended his deal with the defending champions recently, confirmed he has turned down several offers from Ferrari in the past, while Red Bull advisor Helmut Marko claimed it also approached team boss Christian Horner late last year.
Meanwhile, speculation over the future of Ferrari’s current driver line-up has been rife in recent months; both Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc uphold contracts that will expire at the end of next year.
Leclerc has repeatedly been linked with Mercedes, while reports in Italy have stated Ferrari has targeted the signing of seven-time World Champion Lewis Hamilton.
However, Ferrari team boss Frederic Vasseur has denied the reports, underlining ahead of the Spanish Grand Prix that the team’s focus is set on improving its competitive position.