Christian Horner doubts Max Verstappen will be like Fernando Alonso

Despite being just 25 years old, 2023 is already Max Verstappen's ninth season in Formula 1.

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner has admitted that he doesn’t see Max Verstappen being in Formula 1 for as long as fellow double World Champion Fernando Alonso, with the Dutchman knowing exactly what he wants to do with his life.

Verstappen hasn’t kept it secret that he won’t be in F1 in his 40s, with the 25-year-old having openly admitted that his contract lucrative deal with Red Bull could be his last.

The Dutchman is currently under contract until the end of 2028, by at which point he’ll be 31 years old.

He’s spoken about retiring from the pinnacle of motorsport several times in the past few months, with him growing increasingly frustrated with how often the sport’s format is being changed.

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This weekend’s Azerbaijan Grand Prix is going to see yet another new format, after changes to the sprint format where agreed upon in Tuesday’s F1 Commission.

In Horner’s words, Verstappen “is his own man”, with him set to be racing elsewhere should he still be a competitive racing driver by the time he’s Alonso’s age.

“Max is his own man, and he is very strong in his opinions and his outlook on what he wants to do with his life,” Horner told Sky Sports.

“I don’t see him being a Fernando Alonso and still racing at 41 or 42 years of age, or maybe not in Formula 1.

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“But what his love and passion is, is racing, and if he is not racing on track at the moment, he is driving in the virtual world.”

The Dutchman heads into Azerbaijan this weekend in the typical position of being the championship leader, with him boasting a 15-point lead over Sergio Perez.

Verstappen will be targeting his third win of the season at the Baku City Circuit, after claiming victory in Bahrain and Australia.

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He’s also targeting back-to-back wins in Azerbaijan, after comfortably winning the race 12 months ago.

He will have the sprint race to navigate, though, meaning any mistake could seriously damage his championship lead.

However, should he dominate in Baku, then he could leave the weekend with a commanding advantage, something he’ll likely be targeting.