F1: Max Verstappen issues quit threat over 24-race calendars

(GMM) Max Verstappen says the ever-expanding Formula 1 calendar could be a reason to quit the sport after his Red Bull contract expires in 2028.

F1 this week published a whopping 24-race calendar for next season, although many of the races have been more strategically grouped for geographical regions.

“I think it’s at least a bit more logical, the way it’s been planned,” said the reigning world champion. “But it’s too many (races) for me.

“More things will have to come together for me to make my mind up over whether I stay longer or not,” said the Dutchman, who has also made public his concerns about the 2026 engine and chassis rules.

“These things are definitely not helping for sure.”

When asked about Verstappen’s comments, Mercedes rival George Russell smirked that it sounds as though the 25-year-old is simply positioning himself for a pay-rise.

“He is the highest-paid on this grid,” said the Briton, “and rightly so for what he is achieving. “But I think his threat of retirement is all a big tactic.”

While Verstappen complains, however, Lewis Hamilton insisted that he is still planning to extend his contract at Mercedes beyond the end of the season.

“Before the end of the season, I will already be well into the contract,” said the 38-year-old.

But the oldest driver on the grid, Fernando Alonso, admitted that the long calendars are getting more and more “difficult” for those working in Formula 1.

“Of course I see the benefits that come with 24 races a year,” said the almost-42-year-old. “I understand that it generates more revenue for everyone.

“But I think looking at the team members, 18 races a year would be a good number. If there are more than 18 or 19, it gets stressful for the mechanics and the media. Everyone is then stressed from February to December.

“As drivers, we can’t complain too much because we have all the benefits and are looked after as best we can. But I understand that it’s hard for everyone else,” the two-time world champion added.

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