Max Verstappen asserts there are “more things that have to come together” in order for him to prolong his stay in Formula 1 beyond his current deal.
The reigning World Champion upholds a contract with Red Bull until the end of 2028 but has repeatedly cast doubt over his long-term commitment to remaining in the sport.
With Red Bull extending its competitive advantage this year to scoop victory in all 10 races to this point, the Austrian outfit is well-placed to equip Verstappen with the machinery to challenge for titles up until the regulations are reset next in 2026.
Red Bull has already finalised its engine arrangement plans for that period, with it being announced in February that Red Bull Powertrains will work alongside American automotive giant Ford on the new rules.
Verstappen has revealed the success of the project is one of the primary factors that will determine his future racing plans.
“I think it’s a very interesting project for us and for me it’s also very important to know what’s going on, also for my future within the team,” he explained.
“It’s all looking very promising. Of course to go up against all of these manufacturers is going to be very tough, but the signs are good. Now of course we have to try and deliver.
“I think we started at the right time, we are ahead of schedule, but in one way 2026 is just around the corner. A lot of things still need to be done, but I think we’re on a good track.
“Of course we still have to keep on pushing flat out to be able to deliver a very strong engine.”
However, Red Bull team boss Christian Horner has expressed dissatisfaction with how the 2026 engine regulations are shaping up and is pushing for revisions to be made.
After Horner revealed Verstappen was equally unimpressed having driven the new car in the simulator, the two-time champion believes the upcoming rules in their current state wouldn’t be “good for the sport”.
“It’s just not right that you have to drive the car like that. Under braking you almost stay flat out, it will just create a very weird atmosphere,” he argued.
“A bit like the blown diffusers, just being flat out almost, for me it just looks very weird. And also with the active aero that is regulating itself it all looks a bit odd to me.
“I think it’s overcomplicating a lot of things and from the engine side… We really need to have a good look at it. But I also know that some people think they will have an advantage, so will say that they think the regulations are good.
“I think from my side, just looking at it as a racing driver, I think it’s wrong. But you always have these politics in Formula 1 where one team thinks ‘Ah yeah I think we can take an advantage out of this’, they will say it’s great, right? But at the end of the day we have to look into what is good for the sport, and at the moment with how it’s looking I don’t think it’s good for the sport.”
When asked if he’s spoken to the other drivers about his concerns, Verstappen said: “Yeah, I’m not sure how many are actually fully aware of how it’s looking.”
Meanwhile, Verstappen has also hit out at the length of the calendar for next year after it was confirmed recently that a record-breaking 24 races will go ahead.
The season will commence in late February in Bahrain before closing out in Abu Dhabi in early December.
Although Verstappen admits he would like a return to fewer rounds in a year, he has been left more content with the improved regional grouping of races for 2024.
“It’s too many for me but we just have to deal with it,” he said. “I think it’s a bit more logical the way it’s planned at least, so I guess that’s better for everyone.”
However, Verstappen concedes that his evident unhappiness with the direction the series is heading in won’t increase the chances of him sticking around.
“It’s more things that have to come together for me to make my mind up to stay longer or not, but these things are definitely not helping, that’s for sure,” he implored.