Max Verstappen warns he is ready to breach contract and leave Red Bull

Max Verstappen is contracted to Red Bull until 2028, but he has said he could quit before then.

Reigning World Champion has admitted that he could retire from Formula 1 if Red Bull drop to the midfield, when the new power unit regulations are introduced in 2026.

For the first-time in their Formula 1 history, Red Bull will power themselves from 2026 onwards, with current supplier Honda to partner Aston Martin.

Red Bull will receive technical support from Ford, who actually left the sport after Red Bull replaced Jaguar on the grid back in 2005.

The Austrians are already working tirelessly towards the new era of the sport, with the Milton Keynes-based team having built a special department purely to work on their powertrains.

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So far, reports on their progress have been mixed.

Some have suggested that Red Bull’s engine isn’t producing as much power as expected, whilst advisor Dr Helmut Marko has insisted that the side are “miles ahead” of Ferrari and Audi in terms of development.

Powering themselves and sister team AlphaTauri is a huge gamble, which could have mammoth consequences if it doesn’t go to plan.

As with any new regulations, there is the chance that Red Bull won’t be the most dominant team in 2026, a fate Mercedes were faced with when the new aerodynamic regulations were introduced in 2022.

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Whilst dropping all the way into the midfield is highly unlikely, it is a possibility.

This is seemingly something Verstappen wants to avoid at all costs, with him admitting that the last thing he wants is to “fight for three years in the midfield”.

If that were to happen, then the two-time World Champion would either retire or “do something else”.

He stresses though, that the chances of Red Bull falling into the midfield in 2026 are “quite remote”.

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“I would leave only if the situation was really dramatic,” Verstappen told De Telegraaf.

“A scenario that I think is quite remote since I do not expect that a team like ours can lose so much ground against the competition in light of the very good people who work with us.

“Obviously I wouldn’t fight for three years in midfield, at which point I would stay at home or do something else. But, I repeat, I really do not believe that this scenario can be realised.”