Ex-Formula 1 driver Johnny Herbert doesn’t think Max Verstappen will “bow out early”, because he has a real chance at eclipsing Lewis Hamilton’s and Michael Schumacher’s seven titles.
This year, there has been growing speculation that Verstappen could retire from F1 when his current contract expires at the end of 2028, when he’ll be just 31 years old.
Verstappen himself has hinted at this, with him wanting to race in other championships before he’s too old.
Competing in the World Endurance Championship (WEC) is something the Dutchman has expressed an intent in doing, as he wants to win the Le Mans 24 Hours.
This isn’t the only reason why he’s been linked with an early exit from F1, as it’s also believed that he’s becoming disgruntled with the format being constantly tweaked.
Ever since they were initially discussed, Verstappen has been against Sprint races, something which hasn’t changed since their introduction in 2021.
He prefers the traditional format and has threatened to quit should the sport make too many more changes.
Despite his threats, Herbert doesn’t see him departing anytime soon, even if he is starting to recognise “life outside the F1 bubble”.
“I don’t think he’s going to bow out early,” Herbert said, as per The Mirror.
“That’s just him growing up and maturing and him appreciating there is life outside the F1 bubble. I think his whole demeanour and mentality is about winning. He may do Le Mans with his Dad. But his main focus is and will be F1 but he realises he can enjoy life in a different way and it’s not all about that one bubble. Maybe it’s family that could be starting to come into his head.”
Herbert is somewhat certain that Verstappen is now “very aware” that he could become the greatest F1 driver of all-time, and eclipse Hamilton’s achievements.
The former F1 driver is confident that this is now Verstappen’s “motivation” as he’s talented enough to win another five titles to become an eight-time World Champion, something Hamilton is still pushing for himself.
“Senna always finished a season and went back to Brazil for a whole reset to get his motivation back ahead of testing,” Herbert added.
“Lewis is not dissimilar. There are two drivers who have won seven world titles and Max is very aware that he has the talent to potentially beat that. That is his motivation.
“When you’re on top of the podium and the champagne is flowing there’s no other feeling like it. The motivation is to win as many championships as he can. The goal is eight and that will be more than enough.
“The thing with all great champions such as Michael, Ayrton, Lewis and Max, it is about bettering yourself all the time. That comes from within and it’s the biggest motivation which sets them apart.
“They all look to confront perceived weaknesses, work on them and turn them in a way into a strength. Then move on to the next negative to sort out.”