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Max Verstappen says he is not motivated by winning a record number of Formula One titles by the end of his career and is instead tempted by racing in other categories of motorsport when his Red Bull contract expires.
The current record for the most championship triumphs is jointly held by Lewis Hamilton and Michael Schumacher on seven, while Verstappen has two to his name and is already in a strong position to add a third this year.
Verstappen has a contract with Red Bull that runs through to the end of 2028, meaning a winning spree over the coming years could see him draw level or even beat the current record by the end of that deal, but the 25-year-old says the number of titles he wins is not his main consideration going forward.
“I’m not interested in seven or eight titles,” he said. “If you have the car to do so then brilliant, but even if it doesn’t, I’m happy. I’m already happy.”
The topic came up during Thursday’s media day for the Azerbaijan Grand Prix after the reigning champion stated he “won’t be around for too long” if Formula One continues to add more sprint races to the calendar.
He clarified those comments in Baku, saying it was more a concern about the amount of time F1 consumes each year and his desire to try other disciplines in motorsport.
“I always said that anyway, even if there won’t be any more sprint races or whatever, if we keep expanding the calendar and the whole weekend is that long, at one point, you question yourself is it worth it?” Verstappen said. “I do like racing, I do like winning. I know that the salary and everything, you have a good life. But is it actually a good life?
“I think sometimes you get to a point in your career where you want to do other stuff. And I know that I have of course a contract until the end of ’28, and then we’ll review again.
“But yeah, I do feel that if it’s getting at one point too much, it’s time for a change. I think you always have to be talking to yourself, looking to yourself, are you still motivated, fully motivated, and do you love what you do?
“At the moment that is definitely the case. There will for sure be a point where you want to do maybe other stuff as well. Sometimes, it sounds very weird for people from the outside, because they’re saying ‘ah you’re in Formula One, 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. Yes, it’s great, it’s amazing, you can do a lot of things. Very independent. But there is always a limit.”
Speaking specifically in regards to the sprint race, Verstappen said he understood F1’s desire to add more action to a weekend but feels it takes some of the shine away from the main event on Sunday.
“It’s like I said before, I look at it from a racing point of view, and probably F1 looks at it from a business point of view,” he said. “Of course I understand, these sprint races, they probably add a bit more excitement. But I look at it from the racing point of view.
“Normally when you then do the sprint races, that’s exciting, few shunts in there, damage, blah blah blah, safety car, a bit more excitement. But throughout the race, you get quite a clear picture of what is happening, who is quickest, so you also have quite a clear view on what is going to happen on the next day. That probably takes a bit the shine away from the main event, which I think always should be the special event.”