Red Bull team principal Christian Horner has spoken of his joy at re-signing Max Verstappen until the end of 2028.
The Dutchman’s previous deal ran until the end of 2023 and included a clause that allowed him to leave the team were they unable to give him a sufficiently competitive car.
However, any fears of such eventuality for the 24-year-old were dispelled last year when he, for the first time in his career, was given a car capable of winning the championship on merit.
He claimed 10 victories on his way to a dramatic final lap success at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix in 2021, defeating Sir Lewis Hamilton following a contentious Safety Car restart.
Verstappen will now remain at the Milton Keynes squad for the next seven seasons in a deal that reportedly sees him stand to earn $250 million.
Horner believes the new deal is a sign of the team’s ambition in the coming years.
“To have Max signed with Red Bull through to the end of 2028 is a real statement of intent,” he said, quoted by the Express.
“Our immediate focus is on retaining Max’s world championship title, but this deal also shows he is part of the team’s long-term planning.”
The 48-year-old acknowledges that a capable pair of hands will be necessary for the transitional period when Red Bull begin making their own powertrains in 2026, and he can think of no one better than the new world champion.
“With the Red Bull Powertrains division working towards the new engine regulations for 2026 we wanted to make sure we had the best driver on the grid secured for that car,” he added.
Verstappen himself took to social media to express his excitement at the new contract having stated his devotion to Red Bull for the rest of his career in the aftermath of his title success in December.
“Really proud to announce that Oracle Red Bull Racing will be my home until at least 2028,” he said.
“I love this team and I am very happy to continue this amazing journey we are on for a long time.
“We have accomplished so much together already but we are definitely not done. Looking forward to our future together.”
Verstappen will once again partner Sergio Perez in 2022. The Mexican is out of contract at the end of the year, meaning he needs a strong season if he is to remain with the four-time constructors’ champions heading into 2023.