(GMM) World champion Max Verstappen has apparently also caught up with Lewis Hamilton in the Formula 1 earnings stakes.
The respected Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf claims the 24-year-old Dutchman and Red Bull have reached a ‘final agreement’ for a new contract.
Verstappen’s existing deal was set to expire next year, but now it is said that the new contract will see him racing for the energy drink owned team perhaps until 2027 or 2028.
The long-term deal will reportedly see his annual retainer almost double, with a retainer in excess of $50 million, putting him on par with seven time world champion Hamilton.
However, while well-placed sources insist the deal is done, Red Bull and Verstappen’s co-managers Raymond Vermeulen and father Jos Verstappen would not comment.
David Coulthard told the Stockholm-based broadcaster Viaplay that Red Bull clearly thinks Verstappen is up to the challenge of consistently beating Hamilton.
“He really has an all or nothing mentality,” said the Scot.
“With that, he managed to get into Lewis’ head, and not many drivers have managed to do that.”
At the same time, despite his extraordinary on-track and now off-track success, Coulthard is impressed that Verstappen is not corrupted by fame and wealth.
“If you see him on the street, he’s a normal guy,” said the former McLaren and Red Bull driver.
“I’ve been in this world for a long time, and I’ve seen how fame can change people. But I don’t think Verstappen will change.
“He’s 24 already, and he’s stayed the same throughout.”